In March 2020, all forms of professional football were outlawed and banned due to the spread of the notorious Corona virus disease. Almost one year in, professional football in Nigeria is still finding its feet following the standstill.
The Nigerian National League (NNL), the second tier professional league in the country is yet to commence a new season. The stakeholders will be holding a meeting in Ebonyi State today to chart a way forward for the league, including its fixtures and other requirements, after the league secured a sponsorship deal with the Premier Lotto company. It must be remembered that it is the same set of clubs that competed in last season’s NNL that would still compete this season after the governing body decided against promoting or relegating any teams as the league was not concluded.
The Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL on the other hand is well and truly underway already, with 39 matches already completed in the league. The teams in the league were ranked last season based on their points per game after the season was truncated due to the corona virus pandemic. So far this season, teams are still trying to find a balance following the long break from the game, with the league having not seen any absolute stand out performers yet. Also, players have had to play every week since Matchday One kicked off on December 27th, with the teams having completed 4 matches each already, except for Enyimba FC and Kwara United, whose Matchday 2 fixture was rescheduled because of Enyimba’s continental assignment.
The League Management Company, LMC has barred clubs from admitting fans into their stadia to watch their games to minimize the spread of the virus, and players have been subjected to regular COVID-19 tests at their clubs.
The Nigeria Women Football League, NWFL kicked off a new season on December 9 2020. The league which is under the leadership of Aisha Falode looks to have adopted a new look, with only 14 teams participating in the league, abandoning the old model of teams in groups competing against one another, and a competition, the Super Four, at the end of the season between the four highest ranking teams.
At international club level, Nigerian clubs Enyimba and Plateau United were in the preliminary qualifying rounds for the CAF Champions League and were knocked out by teams from Sudan and Tanzania, respectively. In the second-tier continental competition, the CAF Confederation Cup, Kano Pillars were knocked out, while Rivers United face a trip to Benin Republic on the horizon to determine their fate. Enyimba has also been drafted into the Confederation Cup after they were ousted from the Champions League. The Super Eagles have also played 4 matches since the resumption of football, winning none, drawing three and losing one of the matches. The U-17 Golden Eaglets are also currently in the semi-final of the U-17 WAFU tournament, where they will be facing Burkina Faso. For someone who bets on NetBet the NPFL matches are available on the site for you to stake responsibly on. It really is football season.