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Akwa United disappoint
The Promise Keepers have a reputation as arguably the most exciting and progressive team in the NPFL thanks to their recruitment drive in recent times. Starting the new campaign at home to El-Kanemi Warriors was supposed to be a walkover, however it turned out to be the shock of the day as a stoppage-time goal from the Maiduguri outfit condemned United to a 1-0 loss. Not what many saw coming, and certainly a bad start for new coach Rafael Everton.
Violence erupts again
It’s often an occurrence to see home fans take laws into their own hands when results don’t favour their team. That’s exactly what happened in Jos where FC Ifeanyi Ubah held 2017 champions Plateau United to a goalless draw. Fans of the Peace Boys attacked the referee, which was totally uncalled for. It’s happened too many times in recent years, and it’s disheartening that such incident had to mar the beginning of a league that has been on hold for too long.
Enyimba are back home
Not since November 2015 have Enyimba played a league game at their home in Aba, seeking temporary shelter in Port Harcourt and Calabar ever since. Having reopened in August 2018, and used for the later part of their Caf Confederation Cup game, joy radiated in the commercial city for the People’s Elephant's first league game of the campaign as they secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Mountain of Fire FC. The good times are back for the domestic giants!
- LMC media
Tough league formatWith the NPFL taking on an abridged format this season where 12 teams are split into two groups, it’s not going to be business as usual, as three teams from each group (for a total of six) will make it to the championship playoffs to determine the league winner, while four teams from each group will be relegated to the Nigeria National League. Unlike a 20-team format, there’s very little room to make amends here. Things are set to get feisty in 2019, but it’s the hope that every team accepts their fate without causing needless drama when the decisive moment arrives.
Euphoria on NPFL returnFor the NPFL to be inactive for seven months all because of a power tussle and lack of agreement among the governing bodies was shameful to say the least. However, all of that was forgotten as fans flocked into the stadium to cheer their teams on Sunday. Even though no game was televised, social media activity enabled live updates to flow seamlessly, thus creating a memorable opening matchday experience. Hopefully fans will never have to wait this long again, and the top flight can maintain the high standards set this weekend.