Rangers play host to Enyimba in NPL season opener

The Oriental derby will usher in the new season as star game in the Nigeria Premier League which begins on March 9
Enugu Rangers will play host to six-time champions Enyimba in the star game to open the Nigeria Premier League new season on Saturday, March 9.

The game in Enugu is one of the games in week One of the new season after the NPL draw was conducted in Abuja on Friday afternoon where all the 20 clubs were represented.

In other opening week fixtures, defending champions Kano Pillars will start their title defence away at Wikki Tourists, while there is the Ilorin derby involving ABS and Kwara United on Sunday.

The league will now be played as a regular season after the clubs rejected an abridged league proposal of the League Management Committee.

The chairmen of the clubs refused to accept the interim committee’s plan to have the 2012/13 season abridged because of the late kick-off insisting that they can cope with the rigours of playing a full season.

The meeting between both parties delayed the draw for the new season for about five hours. The Congress overruled N50million bond each of the clubs were supposed to pay.

However, the status of the Nigeria Premier League was slightly moderated. It was amended to be called the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to avoid the current legal status and legal bottlenecks hanging over the system.

NPL Week 1 fixtures:

Sharks vs Warri Wolves
Wikki Tourists vs Kano Pillars
Sunshine Stars vs Kaduna United
Bayelsa United vs Lobi Stars
3SC vs Gombe United
ABS FC vs Kwara United
Rangers Vs Enyimba
Heartland vs Nembe City
Nasarawa United vs El Kanemi Warriors
Akwa United vs Dolphin