Sunday, May 26, 2019

Clubs Battle Play-off spots, Relegation in Final Match day



The abridged version of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, will on Sunday come to an end.

As it stands on the NPFL 2018/2019 league table, the last match day would either impact on the playoff aspirations or survival of all the teams in action.

The final round of matches which will be action packed, as it will feature teams across 12 designated stadia in the country as they slug it out to make the Super Six play-off spots as well as others that will be engaging in survival battle to avoid relegation.

With 17 teams still at risk of dropping down to the Nigeria National League, NNL, if they fail to get the desired results, the trio of Akwa United, Kano Pillars and seven-time champions Rangers have secured their places in the Super Six as they await others whose fate would be known in the playoffs as well as in the final matchday 22.

One of the matches to look out for will be the South-West derby that will be played at the Akure Township Stadium between Sunshine Stars Football Club of Akure and MFM Football Club.

While the Olukoya Boys will be needing an away win to aid their push in a playoff spot for the Super Six, the Owena Whales must harvest nothing short of three points to be sure of keeping their status in the NPFL.


A draw will no doubt dent the aspiration of both clubs whose rivalry within the region will come to the fore today.

Also, another game that will be the delight of football pundits and spectators is the match between Rivers United of Port Harcourt who had missed Super Six qualification and Bendel Insurance of Benin.

The match billed for the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt will definitely be hardest fixture for both teams this season as any result recorded could lead to the relegation of at least one of the opposing teams.


Both the Pride of Rivers and Insurance are tied on 28 points and only victory for either side would guarantee their safety.

The situation in Okigwe will not be different with that of Port Harcourt encounter where Heartland will be hosting El-Kanemi Warriors in a fight to finish match.

Both sides must gun for total victory to guarantee safety as defeat as well as a draw will be a dangerous adventure.

At the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina United must surmount Enyimba International to be sure of their safety while the People’s Elephant also need more than average performance for a good result in order to book a qualification for the Super Six.

Also at Omoku, it will be winner takes all encounter between Go Round and Gombe United.

With both teams tied on 27 points, harnessing three points on the final day of action will be enough to escape relegation. Just like the other games, a draw will be a bad result for both teams.


On Sunday, Abia Warriors are not only expected to defeat visiting Kano Pillars in Umuahia but must also score more goals to avert the danger of slipping into relegation.

If they are able to get a victory against Pillars who have qualified for the Super Six with a wide goal margin, then it might be a done deal for the Warriors going by the outcome of the Heartland and El Kanemi match.

While others will be hoping to survive on Sunday, Lobi Stars will be hoping to cement their place in the playoff, when the visit Remo Stars at Sagamu, with the latter already planning for life in the lower division.

Eight teams are set to be relegated from the NPFL this season and only three have been confirmed heading into the final matchday.

All games are billed to kickoff by 4pm this Sunday at the 12 different venues.

The fixtures

Group A
Wikki Tourists v Rangers
Rivers United v Bendel Insurance
Remo Stars v Lobi Stars
Niger Tornadoes v Kwara United
Katsina United v Enyimba
Sunshine Stars v MFM

Group B
Yobe Stars v Nasarawa United
Go Round v Gombe United
Delta Force v Plateau United
Abia Warriors v Kano Pillars
FC Ifeanyiubah v Akwa United
Heartland FC v El-Kanemi

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