As Matchday 17 is concluded this Sunday in eight centres, what is certain is that both Rivers United and Plateau United will remain in the top two. How they will place between them is a matter of the outcomes of their fixtures.
Rivers United have garnered 35 points from 17 matches, while Plateau United are only a point short from the same number of games. Rangers, who would have threatened the front runners, have 28 points with result from this Matchday already applied.
Previous leaders Remo Stars have fallen short after losing four matches from an unbeaten run until recently.
Interestingly, both Uniteds – Rivers and Plateau – will be playing in front of their fans; Rivers United hosting Shooting Stars, while Plateau United welcome Katsina United to New Jos Stadium.
Rivers United, also known as the Pride of Rivers, have indeed made their fans so proud as they rose from ninth spot on the opening day of the season to shoot their way to the summit.
Apart from a lone goal setback to Plateau United in Jos on Matchday 11, Rivers United have been unbeaten, winning 10 times and sharing honours five other times. Away victories in Aba against Enyimba, in Lagos against MFM and also versus Kano Pillars have helped in catapulting Port Harcourt team to No 1.
Rivers United will contend with Shooting Stars in Port Harcourt on Sunday in what is perhaps the Match-of-the Week. Shooting Stars’ return to the topflight have seen the Ibadan side operate off-and-on. From 16 matches, they have only harvested 20 points to place three points and five steps above the relegation four.
For Plateau United, Sunday’s fixture pits them against Katsina United, who are leading the relegation zone having collected 17 points from 16 matches.
Like Rivers United, Plateau United also started the season poorer at No 17 from the 20-team league. Now they are only a point shy of the top spot. The squad of Abdu Maikaba will be buoyed by the 2-0 win over Lobi Stars in Makurdi midweek.