• League ends today across 10 centres
Encomiums have continued to rain on new Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Akwa United, who have been crowned winners of the competition for the first time in their 26 years history.
The 2020/21 NPFL season will end today with matches across 10 venues in the country. The Uyo-based Akwa United were crowned champoions with a game to spae after their 5-2 defeat of MFM of Lagos at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium at the weekend.
Among organisations celebrating the new champions are Akwa Ibom branch of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), the state’s arm of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dakkada FC of Uyo and Plateau United FC of Jos.
In a statement by its state chairman, Emmanuel Akpanika and Secretary, Theophilus Udoh, Uyo SWAN, also congratulated the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Monday Uko and Akwa United Chairman, Paul Bassey, for working tirelessly to ensure the team emerge victorious in the 2020/2021 season.
“It is on record that Akwa United won its first FA Cup trophy in 2015, as well as won Aiteo Cup in 2017 and today, history is again written in favour of the club by winning the first ever NPFL trophy after competing in the league for several years.
“With this historic milestone, more is expected as the team steps into the continent of Africa as the best football club in Nigeria where they will face the best teams from other African countries,’’ SWAN said.
Also in a congratulatory message, state chairman of NUJ, Amos Etuk and Secretary, Dominic Akpan, said that NPFL title was a perfect gift to Akwa Ibom people for their support and devotion to the team since its establishment in 1996.
The Union described the victory as the sweet fruit of the club’s determination and hard work in the league campaign this season.
“We urge the club to reach for the stars in the CAF Champions League campaign, which begins in September, 2021, and push to retain the League Cup next season, because these are the hallmarks of champions,” NUJ said.
Also congratulating the team, the management of NPFL sides Dakkada FC of Uyo and Plateau United FC of Jos described Akwa United’s victory as a victory to good football.
Although Akwa United have won the title, five of the other clubs are still fighting to secure continental tickets, while four are battling to avoid the drop.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that second-placed Nasarawa United of Lafia need to beat Abia Warriors in Umuahia to join Akwa United in the CAF Champions League and away from third-placed Kano Pillars, fourth-placed Rivers United, fifth-placed Enyimba International and sixth-placed Kwara United.
With all five of them playing away, the situation is unpredictable and only those who can grab away wins will pick the tickets to play on the continent.
FC IfeanyiUbah and Adamawa United are already relegated, but the other two to join them can be any two of Warri Wolves, Sunshine Stars, Wikki Tourists and Jigawa Golden Stars.
Warri Wolves need more than a win to escape the drop, while Sunshine Stars and Wikki Tourists need to just win to scale through. But that will be if Jigawa Golden Stars do not draw or win at MFM FC.
NAN reports that two clubs are to join the duo of Adamawa United and FC IfeanyiUbah in dropping to the Nigeria National League (NNL) for the 2021/2022 season.