MFM FC will commence their 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League campaign with a South West derby battle at home to newly-promoted Remo Stars at a new home ground the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos on Friday.
The Lagos based outfit finished 10th in the NPFL last season and will be seeking to improve on their achievements this term, beginning against visiting Remo Stars under the floodlights at the Onikan Stadium.
The encounter between the two regional foes will mark the fifth meeting in the Nigerian topflight and the hosts will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run against their visitors to five. In the previous four meetings, the Olukoya Boys enjoyed the head-to-head advantage, with three wins - ending all as 1-0 and a 1-1 draw against the Sky Blue Stars.
Ahead of the showdown, MFM announced the appointment of Shola Balogun, as the substantive Technical Adviser for next two seasons, while Gabriel Olalekan remains the Head Coach of the team.
Speaking before the tie, Remo Stars head coach Gbenga Ogunbote is confident his side can begin their topflight challenge on a high despite playing on an away ground against their regional rivals.
“We have prepared well for the season and we are ready ,” Ogunbote told The PUNCH.
“It is important to start the season well, regardless of where we are playing, because at the end the result will help us. We are well aware of this but we will go into that game with the mindset to win, ”he concluded.
Besides Friday's opening day fixtures, reigning champions Akwa United welcome Kano Pillars, while Gombe United welcome Shooting Stars SC of Ibadan to the Patanmi stadium.
Makurdi giants, Lobi Stars will host Rivers United which will see Lobi Stars Manager Eddy Dombraye lead his side against his state for the first time in many years.
The first oriental derby match of the new season will Enyimba FC played host to their arch-rivals Abia Warriors in Aba, while Enugu Rangers travel to Katsina to face Katsina United. Elsewhere, the solid miners of Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face Heartland.
Also, Niger Tornadoes will welcome Plateau United at their temporary home ground in Ilorin, Sunshine Stars will face Wikki Tourists of Bauchi at the Akure Township Stadium. Another tie will see Kwara United host Dakkada in Ilorin, Kwara United almost won the league last season, before Akwa United secured the title with seven points gap.
NPFL MATCHDAY 1 2021/2022 FIXTURES
Gombe United v Shooting Stars
Akwa United v Kano Pillars
Lobi Stars v Rivers United
Katsina United Rangers Intl
Enyimba v Abia Warriors
Sunshine Stars v Wikki Tourists
Niger Tornadoes v Plateau United
Kwara United v Dakkada
MFM FC v Remo Stars
Heartland v Nasarawa United