Curtain Closes on NPFL Abridged League Tomorrow as Insurance Hope to End Season Unscathed

Curtain Closes on NPFL Abridged League Tomorrow as Insurance Hope to End Season Unscathed

The curtain would be drawn on the 2022/23 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) tomorrow with six teams chasing the three remaining slots for the play off as they hope to join Group A leaders-Bendel Insurance and the two top teams in Group B, Rivers United and Lobi Stars, with the trio already booking their place for the Super Six.

Going into matchday 18, the trio of Bendel Insurance, Rivers United, and Lobi Stars have already booked their places in the Super-Six. At the same time, in Group A, Enyimba (31 points), Remo Stars (30 points), and Akwa United (29 points) can snag the last two slots.

In Group B, there is only one outstanding and Doma United (26 points) will slug it out with Abia Warriors (24 points) and Sunshine Stars (24 points) on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Doma United head coach, Akinade Onigbinde is optimistic his team will clinch a ticket to the Nigeria Premier Football League Super Six playoff.

The Savannah Tigers will be hoping to snatch the remaining slot from Group B after Lobi Stars and Rivers United secured their places.

“We all know what is at stake which is the NPFL Super Six playoff,” Onigbinde said.

The abridged season has been an eye-opener and has seen some unlikely stories emerge. Chief amongst these is the current unbeaten streak of Bendel Insurance, who have played 17 games without a defeat. The Benin Gunners have won eight games and drawn nine during their record-breaking season after getting promoted from the Nigeria National League.

The league has produced 358 goals this season, with an average of 20 goals every matchday. The highest goal tally of 27 was recorded on matchday 11.

Meanwhile, the newly promoted club, Doma United, being a dark horse, have shown they can be the new MFM FC in the league as they have an eye on one of the top three spots in Group B.

Several centres will be hotspots for the weekend as they determine the shape and final standings of the first phase.

There are five locations where the greatest attention will be focused over the weekend, with numerous permutations for the final day of the regular season.

Enyimba need a point like Shooting Stars to qualify for their respective positions. While Enyimba seek a top-three finish, Shooting Stars are clinging to the sixth position to enable them to play in the Super 12.

Recall that the Oluyole Warriors won the GTI pre-season competition defeating Enyimba at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena last year; thus, gifting the People’s Elephant a point to play in the Super 6 might look like a favour in return.

The Oluyole Warriors, defending champions of the pre-season tournament, are earnestly seeking to defend that title now that the prize money has been raised to N1.2 billion.

We expect the Sunday fixtures to be streamed live, which means all eyes will be on Coach Gbenga Ogunbote as he plays against his former club.

Meanwhile, if both teams settle for a draw, it would be the fourth time in the last 15 meetings.

This will be a payback time for Sunshine stars, who were humiliated by Dakkada last season 3-0 in Uyo. Sunshine Stars should have an easy cruise against the already relegated side at the Akure Township Stadium on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Interim Management Committee (IMC) has stated that the Super 6 was shifted from May to June to accommodate the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs that are still in contention for the Federation Cup,

This follows a revised calendar of activities for the 2022/23 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Super 6 which was released by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) with a kick off date of June 3 and final day of Sunday, June 11.

Davidson Owumi the Head of Operations of the IMC explained that the revision of the schedule was agreed with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to accommodate the league and the Federation Cup.

“With Federation Cup round of 16 and quarter finals fixtures slated for 24 and 28 of May, we reasoned that the Super 6 can no longer hold from the earlier date as some of the teams that might qualify for the Play-off are also possibly going to be in the Federation Cup”, explained Owumi.

He stated further that following a meeting with the NFF, a new schedule was arrived at and this will see the finals of the Federation Cup continuing after the Super 6 on June 11.

In the calendar of events, teams are expected to arrive on June 1 while Match Officials will arrive Lagos on June 2 with the first games holding on June 3.

There will be three games on each MatchDay with free days in between each MatchDay.The IMC approved format will declare as Champions, the team with the highest points at the completion of the matches.

With each of the six teams playing each other, there will be a total of 15 games on five MatchDays.

The regular season of the NPFL which was abridged into two groups will be concluded on May 21 with the three top teams in each group qualifying for the play-off.

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