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Delay Not Denial: LMC Announces 2019/20 NPFL Kick Off, Set For November 3rd

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The Nigeria Professional Football League has been off for over 130 days since the last match in the league was played three months ago in the Championship play-offs. The LMC has announced November 3, 2019, as the kick-off date of the 2019/20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with match slated at all ten venues.

That was Enyimba‘s victory over Akwa United which delivered the Aba Elephants’ 8th league title in their history, one more than Enugu Rangers. In the past three months after the last game in the league was played in Agege in June, a whole lot has happened to underline the need to start the League in earnest.

If not for anything, at least the abysmal showing of the home-based Eagles in two different competitions, the West African Football Union Cup in Senegal and the CHAN qualifiers against the same opponents, Togo was an evidence of the local players match rustiness.

The team lost in the first leg of the CHAN qualifiers by 4-1 and also in the WAFU Cup by 2-1. It is no doubt that the players were competitive match rusty after playing only pre-season games all through.

Furthermore, the NPFL club representatives in the CAF club championships, the CAF Confederations Cup and the CAF Champions League left a lot to be desired. Kano Pillars and Niger tornadoes crashed out of their respective competition at the first stage while Enyimba dropped from the CAF Champions League to the CAF Confederations Cup.

Even though some of the teams they competed against also didn’t have their League on, the Ghanaian League where Kumasi Asante Kotoko play is still yet to start as well, the fact that no Nigerian club made the Champions League group stage this season compared to the fact that Lobi Star and Enugu Rangers made the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup last year, when the league was still active, underlines the importance of the league.

Nevertheless, the attitude and effort of the League Management Company in restarting the league was close to nothing as the leadership made several decisions on dates. First, an August date was picked but with no tangible step made, start to the league was moved to September.

After it was certain that September was not feasible due to claims by the leadership of the LMC that there was no fund to run the league, the minister for Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare directed that the league should start on October 20.

Instead, the LMC conducted a consultative meeting on October 14 where the participants of the meeting were divided on the start date for the new league season with many shying off from the October 20 date set by the Sports Minister to pick October 27 which circulated hours after the meeting.

Once again the date was crushed by Officials of the LMC claiming the League was feasible only for September 3 creating a big confusion among the followers of the League with the decision making becoming as shambolic as the setting of the meeting on Monday evening at the LMC corporate office in Maitama, Abuja.

Nevertheless, fixtures were also picked on Monday and the new season starts with Champions Enyimba hosting Nasarawa United while two Former champions Plateau United and Lobi Stars will face off too.

Fidelis Ilechukwu will have the opportunity to entertain the former side on his very first competitive duty at Heartland as Mountain of Fire Football Club travel to Okigwe to face Heartland.

Other Matchday 1 Fixtures include:

Wikki Tourist vs Jigawa Golden Stars, Delta Force vs Akwa Starlets, Kano Pillars vs Rivers United, Ifeanyi Ubah vs Adamawa United, Rangers vs Sunshine Stars, Warri Wolves vs Akwa United, Abia Warriors vs Kastina United

Be it as it may, the planning of the League for a new season may have been done in a shamble but one thing is certain, the several delays to the start of the league may have been annoying and frustrating for fans but slowly and gradually the league is waking from its comatose.

 

 

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Daniel is a passionate lover of Nigerian football. Follows local football and the national teams religiously. Aside from writing, he also does Sports analysis on Radio. Write to me on danycrusoe@gmail.com or follow me on twitter@danycrusoe95

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