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Nigeria’s Championship Playoff turns ‘Festival of draws




Perhaps nothing draws better than the ongoing Nigeria Super 6 league.

With more than half of the projected 15-match series of the Nigeria Premier League Championship play-off already played, there have been more drawn games than victories.

With nine of the projected 15 matches played as at MatchDay 3, only two have been won while seven have been drawn encounters.

The only victories have been the 1-0 defeat of Lobi Stars by Enyimba and Rivers United beating Sunshine Stars 1-0.

No team has been able to double a lead. In nine matches, only 16 goals have been scored.


That nine matches produced just 16 goals, an average of 1.7 per match, speaks volume of the attacking potency of Nigerian clubs jostling for continental slots in the coming months.

It means that the top three clubs will have to engage in massive recruitment of strikers, even outside the country’s shores if they are to make marks at continental competitions instead of the annual rituals of merely making up the numbers of attendees.

So far, the most goal-laden matches have been played by Remo Stars who twice played 2-2 draws against Enyimba and Rivers United.

Considering their 1-1 draw with Sunshine Stars, they are the team with most goals, having put in five.

Paradoxically, they have also conceded as many goals as they have scored!


In the ‘festival of draws’, Bendel Insurance are the kingpins. In the current season, they have the best record of having not lost a match.

But a flashback into the main league reveals they have drawn 11 of their last 12 matches – perhaps a record. Such a gloomy consistency is inconsistent for a side dreaming of continental exploit.  

With fluctuating fortunes, the championship play-off may be heading for a photo-finish. At different points, different teams have temporarily occupied the top of the table.

When Enyimba scored from the penalty spot in the opening match of the play-off, they shot to the top of the table only to be equalled by Remo Stars after the latter put final scoreline at 2-2.

Then came defending champions, Rivers United whose 1-0 defeat of Sunshine Stars catapulted them to the summit of the table.


They remained there after the Match Day 1 before they were displaced by Enyimba, following a MatchDay 2 defeat of Lobi Stars in the only other won match of the series so far.

Ever since, it has been a spate of draws. When Remo Stars shot ahead in the 12th minute of their ‘Star War’ with Sunshine Stars, they jumped to to the top of the table as their point-haul went to five.

But it turned a temporary occupation that lasted just 34 minutes as Sunshine Stars pulled them back to the third position.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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