Two times CAF Champions League winners, Enyimba FC for the first time in four years, have emerged Champions of the 2018/2019 NPFL season after beating Akwa United 3-0 in a routine victory and by so doing, will feature in the 2019/2020 CAF Champions league.
The People’s Elephants were in pole position going into the last match day of the NPFL Championship Play-offs after Kano Pillars had played out a 1-1 with Rangers on matchday and they waited for no favor from somewhere else as they beat the promise keepers to clinch their 8th title in their history, one more than any other team in the history of the Nigerian League.
Having being tied with Rangers on 7 Npfl titles each, Enyimba’s 3-0 win sends them clear of their Oriental rivals who have only won the league once in since the turn of the century while all Enyimba’s 8 titles have come after the turn of the century. Reuben Bala scored 2 minutes before halftime while Stanley Dimgba and Abdulrahman Bashir added to it in the second half.
Elsewhere, Kano pillars 1-0 victory over Lobi Stars was inconsequential having sealed the second CAF Champions league spot, Ifeanyi Nweke scored a second half penalty to handed the four time NPFL Champions a victory. Earlier on Wednesday, the LMC fined Kano pillars 8 Million Naira while Captain of the side, Rabiu Ali was banned from participating in any NPFL activity for a period of 12games after inciting fans against the referee in their 1-1 draw against Rangers, they will also play three home games behind closed doors while they have a delayed 3-point deduction.
Meanwhile, Akwa United have suspended coach of the side, Rafeal Everton on Wednesday although the reason for the suspension is not clear yet.
The team failed to secure a Continental place at the Championship play-offs despite an impressive run in the main season where they finished first on Group B standings, the promise keepers ended the Championship play-offs with 5 points from five games to finish fourth on the log.
Enugu Rangers will have a second chance to go again in the CAF Confederations Cup after finishing third in the Championship play-offs, the Enugu based team failed to get into the knockout stages after finishing third in their CAF Confederations cup Group this season behind Etoile Du Sahel and CS Xfasien.
The Gbenga Ogunbote led side started the Championship with a loss to Enyimba before beating Lobi Stars 2-1 in their second game after which they recorded a 3-3 and 1-1 draw against Akwa United and Kano Pillars respectively.
Lobi stars would feel hard done after starting the Championship Play-offs with a win against FC Ifeanyi Ubah in their opening game only to lose to Rangers and Enyimba in their next sets of games to scupper their hopes of returning to the continent for the second season running, a 0-0 draw with Akwa united and a 1-0 loss to Kano Pillars on the final day of the Championship play-offs put an end to that.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah were more or less the whipping boys of the six teams as their poor run of form late in the season spilled over to the Championship play-offs losing all six games conceding 14goals and scoring 6.
Uche Okuagbe’s led team were the youngest in the play-offs and could take positives from the experience garnered by his wards who have despite their lack of experience being impressive in their performances.
Attentions will now turn to the Aiteo Cup where there is a second chance to pick the last CAF Confederations cup ticket.