BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
As it was in the 1982 season when the Nigerian football league had an abrupt end and the leading club then, Enugu Rangers had to be declared as winners, the same method has been adopted by the Nigerian League Management Company (LMC) in the current season.
Following the CAF directive that continental flag bearers must be determined by October 15 and the near impossibility of concluding the Nigerian league before that date as a result of backlog of matches, the LMC after their meeting with clubs’ management on Thursday adopted the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ and crowned Lobi Stars as Nigeria’s champions in the inconclusive Nigeria Professional Football League.
As a result, Lobi Stars will be Nigeria’s representatives in next year’s CAF Champions League. Sadly, the two runners-up to Lobi Stars who could have been beneficiaries, lost out of continental tickets as Nigeria has dropped in the CAF coefficient ranking.
Since the league was not concluded, the Thursday crisis resolution meeting decided that no club in the premier division will be relegated. But there will be promotion from the next tier of the league, the NNL which will produce four teams to take the premier division to 24.
Owing to the inherent problems of running a 24-club league in a difficult infrastructural environment, the 24 teams will be divided into two as the LMC opted for an abridged league.
Nigeria had an abridged league in the Season 2005/06. The abridge league for the season 2018/19 will commence in November and barring further disruptions, is expected to end in May 2019. The clubs in the abridged league will each play 22 matches.