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There’s all to play for as NPL Championship play off comes to an end




It is going down to the wire! Adios predictability…bye to established form books. The curtain falls on the IMC-evoked championship play-off this Sunday.

Not many things are certain until the 15th match is played.  There are stakes for all the six contenders.

The only certainty is the fact that both Enyimba and Rivers United have picked tickets to go continental. But they are not too certain of  the content of the envelopes they are holding.

Are both holding the tickets to the CAF Champions League? Will one of them still step down to the CAF Confederation Cup?


Yet unanswered with certainty is the possibility of Enyimba going for the latest innovation – the CAF Super League – instead of the CAF Champions League.

Yet possible is the lurking Remo Stars snatching not just a Champions League ticket that is obtainable if they come second, but also getting the title and the prize money as Nigeria’s latest champions.

Bendel Insurance can also still stage a possible coup of pulling Remo Stars down to the fourth position and taking the third and the attendance CAF Confederation ticket.

Even the duo of bottom-placed Sunshine Stars and Lobi Stars have something to fight for. Will Lobi Stars end the series without scoring any goal?

The allure of the Super 6 League is that all the teams substantially have their destinies in their hands.


In the championship battle are Enyimba and Rivers United. Both have direct confrontation to decide a winner. The stakes are high for both.

The bragging rights as Nigeria’s champions as well as the high stake prize money.

Considering the grim determination from both, should they end in a draw, Remo Stars may profit in that if they do themselves a world of good by winning their potentially explosive encounter with bitter rivals, Bendel Insurance.

The top three will then all end up with nine points each. Goal difference will then determine the ranking.

That way, Rivers United may lose some grounds, slipping into the third position while Remo  Stars come second depending on the number of goals they score against Bendel Insurance.


If the Remo Stars goal difference arithmetically comes up to more than four, even Enyimba on the top of the log will be at risk.

So, if both Enyimba and Rivers United end their match in low score draw or even goalless and Remo Stars beat Insurance 2-0, Remo Stars will be Nigeria’s latest champions and the first one-man owned club to win the Nigerian league in 17 years!

The last sole proprietorship club to win the Nigerian league was the defunct Ocean Boys in 2006. The club was formed by Sylva Nathaniel Ngo, the chairman of Brass Local Government in Bayelsa State.

If Remo Stars beat Bendel Insurance, they will have a nervy three hour wait to ascertain their fate which will only come to light after the last match of Enyimba and Rivers United.

If a winner emerges, Remo Stars will drop to second position. So there is tension all the way.  


Day 5: June 11th

  • Sunshine Stars Vs Lobi Stars – 2pm
  • Remo Stars Vs Bendel Insurance – 4.30pm
  • Enyimba FC Vs Rivers United – 6.30pm
Enyimba   42207348 
Rivers 42205328 
Remo 41307526 
Bendel 403134-13 
Lobi 402203-32 
Sunshine 402226-42 

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.