The League Management Company, LMC has announced the indefinite suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) which was scheduled to resume from the World Cup break on Wednesday, July 18.
The LMC in a letter to all the 20 clubs signed by Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar attributed the suspension of the league to prevailing adverse circumstances in the administration of football in the country.
“Kindly be informed that the League Management Company (LMC) has reached a decision to postpone the resumption of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) indefinitely,”reads the statement.
“The decision is based on the current adverse circumstances in the administration of football in the country as a result of which sponsors, partners and service providers have expressed strong concerns and are reviewing their involvement in the league
“There is therefore the need to engage them further in this regard in order to mitigate against any possible adverse outcome. Furthermore, organizing matches of the NPFL under the current circumstances might cause irreversible damage to the League brand”, the statement noted.
The letter further explained to the clubs that a major partner with whom negotiation had been concluded and approved at the last annual general meeting of the LMC in Port Harcourt on May 28, 2018 has requested for the suspension of the execution of the contract as a result of the on-going challenges in national football administration.
The Club Owners had earlier in the day announced the indefinite suspension of the resumption date of the NPFL over unresolved issues.
The League Management Company has been urged to severely sanction Heartland of Owerri after their fans attacked centre referee Yusuf Garba at the end of Monday’s Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 18 fixture against Plateau United.
The Naze Millionaires were held to a 1-1 draw in the encounter at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.
Abiodun Thompson put the hosts ahead in the 21st minute but they failed to add to their advantage despite creating a number of goal-scoring chances.
Tosin Omoyele rescued a point for the NPFL champions by grabbing the equaliser in the last minute of added time.
A scoop revealed that the home fans descended on the referee immediately he blew the final whitsle, injuring him in the process.
Plateau United media officer, Albert Yakup, confirmed the incident and further stated the fans also attacked some of their players
“What happened yesterday in Owerri was an act of hooliganism. They (Heartland fans) attacked the referee and some of our players,” Yakup told sports journalists.
“We just hope the LMC will do the needful by applying the necessary sanctions.”
The LMC have clamped down on clubs this season over acts capable of bringing the game into disrepute with Sunshine Stars receiving biggest punishment.
The Owena Waves were made to forfeit three points and three goals after their fans attacked match officials in the aftermath of their league game against Kano Pillars at the Akure Sports Complex.
Heartland media officer Henry Echefu was not available for comment when newsmen seek to get his comment on the incident.
The biggest stories coming out of the Nigeria Professional Football League in the past week were Duke Udi and John Obuh being relieved of their duties as managers of Sunshine Stars and Kwara United respectively. Things haven’t been going well for the Owena Whales as they lurk close to the relegation zone, while the Harmony Warriors are rock bottom of the pile.
It is certainly not where the management of both clubs would have wanted them to be, but do their poor starts to the season ensure that both men deserved to be axed?
Udi came to Akure in the second half of the 2017 NPFL season when they were in relegation trouble – replacing former Super Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen, who had failed to provide any spark.
At the time of Udi’s arrival, Sunshine were banished from their Akure base, for crowd violation, to Ijebu-Ode. It’s not the first time the Ondo State capital club used Ijebu-Ode for their home games but the former Osun United boss proved to be an instant hit as Sunshine garnered some big results both in their temporary home and on the road to ultimately beat the drop.
Udi became a fan favourite and appeared to be the man to see out the current campaign. However, all was not well within the Sunshine camp.
Aside from crowd disturbances, the club owed a backlog of salaries to a number of players both past and present.
This put them under the spotlight of the League Management Company, and with players threatening to take strike action over unpaid wages, motivation levels were inevitably low.
There was little the manager could do, and even Udi claimed to have been owed.
The Ondo State Football Agency clarified that Udi was not sacked but rather asked to “step aside for gross insubordination”, due to his refusal to respond to queries and disrespecting constituted authority, for the break down in relationship with players, and for his disregard for the press.
How could a man who saved the club from relegation all of a sudden become the villain?
Certainly, there’s the sense that the Sunshine hierarchy weren’t helping the ex-Nigeria international, and that he has been made a scapegoat to cover up for their poor administration.
Obuh’s axing is rather more unfortunate.
He was the architect of Kwara United’s return to the NPFL for the first time since 2015 as the Ilorin-based club finished top of the Nigeria National League Northern Conference.
The NPFL terrain is difficult, and one that any club that wants to survive needs to be well equipped for. However, the former Nigeria U-20 coach did not get the backing of the Kwara United management and ended up working with what he had.
Indeed, the Harmony Warriors have been the worst performers in the NPFL as they have the lowest number of home wins (three) and the most home defeats (two). The Kwara hierarchy gave Obuh a three-game ultimatum, but it was evident that he would get the axe sooner or later.
Admittedly, one can argue that Udi and Obuh were falling short of expectations, but neither were truly given the support required to succeed.
Assuming that Sunshine Stars and Kwara United had bankrolled both managers with the necessary funds and they didn’t succeed, then the blame would be on their heads, but in this case, it’s the management that are culpable for their clubs’ failure.
United have swiftly appointed former Niger Tornadoes boss Abubakar Bala , while Stars have installed Henry Abiodun as caretaker boss. It is yet to be seen if these men will prompt a turnaround fully knowing that they will work in the same unpleasant environment as their predecessors.
What is saddening is that majority aren’t on lucrative contracts and are not treated with the respect they deserve because of the clubs’ management by state governments.
The league is brimming with many excellent coaches, but they need to thrive in conducive environments and get the required support.
Failure to change this mentality and attitude means that talented coaches will not be harnessed to their full potential, which in turn will hurt the growth of a league trying to build a positive image in front of an increasingly disenfranchised local audience.
Nigeria Professional Football League champions Plateau United held a victory parade in Jos on Thursday to celebrate last season’s title success.
The victory parade, held on a trailer decorated in the club’s yellow and green and involving players and officials of the team, started in the early hours of the day from the club’s home ground, the Rwang Pam Stadium.
They took the trophy round the major parts of the city amidst warm applause and cheers from the supporters.
Plateau United Governor, Simon Lalong, will host the team later today inside the banquet hall of the New Government House, Rayfield, Jos.
The state’s number one citizen is expected to reward the players and their officials handsomely for their successful campaign in the top flight which saw them win the league for the first time since the formation of the club.
It was their second major title after lifting the Federation Cup in 1999.
Plateau United are the newly crowned champions of the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The Tin City side achieved their first ever title glory after the side defeated the immediate past champions, Enugu Rangers 2-0 in Sunday’s top-flight final day matchday 38 clash at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium in Jos.
The Jos landlords earned the top-flight top prize of Fifty Million Naira (N50m) and coveted trophy with 66 points four behind closest challengers, Mountain of Fire Miracles Ministries (MFM) FC who went down 1-2 at El Kanemi Warriors in Maiduguri.
The two top-flights, however, will represent the country in the next Africa’s elite club championship, Caf Champions League.
Plateau United have now joined city rivals, Mighty Jets as teams that have brought top-flight glory to the Tin state.
Towering striker, Ckukwuemeka Umeh calmly slotted in the match opener beyond the reach of Enugu Rangers goalkeeper, Itodo Akor in the 26th minute to the wide jubilation of expectant partial crowds at the stand.
The home lads have to wait for a tense period before substitute, Benjamin Turba grabbed the match winner off a loose ball inside the box in the 89th minute to give the side a comfortable two un-replied goals lead.
The Flying Antelopes who put up a good challenge in the clash had a goal bound effort by Bright Silas in the 62nd minute cleared off the goal line to the relief of the teeming crowds. The closest and clearest chance the Coal City side had in the encounter.
It was, therefore, a huge relief to the partisan crowds at the well packed 15, 000 seats Rwang Pam Township Stadium when the centre referee, Shuaibu Abdullahi signalled to the end of the hotly contested clash.
Elsewhere, seven-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba confirmed their Caf Confederation Cup ticket with a slim 1-0 win against newcomers, Katsina United in Calabar to end the season’s campaign on the third spot on 61 points one point above closest challengers for the Africa’s second tier club championship, Akwa United.
However, the likes of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) and Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC were unlucky against their final day opponents, Niger Tornadoes, and Nasarawa United respectively as they joined the already demoted duo, Gombe United and Remo Stars to the murky water of relegation.
Niger Tornadoes attacking winger Wilfred Ammeh has said his side are on course to achieve their season’s target after a hard-fought victory against FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
The Ikon Allah Boys defeated the Anambra Warriors 2-1 in Monday’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matchday 36 clash at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja.
The match was abandoned on Sunday after the first 45 minutes, with the Anambra landlords in the lead by a goal, due to a heavy downpour that made the pitch unplayable.
Ammeh said his side were never in doubt of their ability to come back from one goal down to win the encounter.
“Our target right from start is to finish the league season among the top 10 teams. With the victory against FC Ifeanyi Ubah, we are very much on course to achieve the set goal.
“We have two matches left on the season’s calendar. What we need to do is to go away to grab point or points to come back home to wrap up the game with a victory and we will be there among the top 10.
“I’m 100% confident that we will achieve the mark we set for ourselves by the time the curtain is drawn on the ongoing top-flight.
“Of course, we were quite sure that we will overpower FC Ifeanyi Ubah, even with their one-goal advantage.
“Their goalkeeper actually did a yeoman’s work to sustain their lead until the match was abandoned on Sunday due to poor pitch condition.
“And when we scored the equalizer upon continuation of the match on Monday we knew that it’s a matter of time the second goal will come.
“We are excited to have rallied round to win the match it’s like we have won the World Cup.
“We finished strongly on the fourth position in the first stanza, suddenly we saw relegation staring us in the face.
“We are happy at least the scare of possible relegation has been taken care of by the win against FC Ifeanyi Ubah. We will now concentrate on finishing the season on high,” said Ammeh to supersport.com.
The Minna side occupies the 10th position on the 20-team top-flight log on 51 points, 12 behind leaders Plateau United.
Ammeh said the win against the Anambra outfit will serve as a huge boost to their Aiteo Cup round of 32 clashes against the Nigerian amateur side, J Atete in Kogi on Wednesday.
“Yes, the win is a huge boost going into the Aiteo Cup round of 32 matches clash against J Atete FC.
“J Atete edged out top-flight side Rivers United in the round of 64, so we have to work very hard to achieve the desired result,” said Ammeh.
The Minna landlords outplayed top-flights El Kanemi Warriors in the round of 64 while J Atete outclassed the Pride of Rivers to pave the way for the round of 32 clashes.
Plateau United outclassed Akwa United 3-0 in Jos on Sunday to stretch their lead in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) standings to five points.
Emmanuel James, Emeka Umeh and Kabiru Umar were the goalscoring contributors for Plateau United at the Rwang Pam Stadium as the Jos-based club continue to edge towards their first-ever top flight title.
Plateau United have now amassed 51 points from 28 matches this season.
Second-placed MFM FC did not play on Sunday as their game against Rivers United in Port Harcourt was postponed.
Enyimba moved up four places to third after recording an emphatic 3-0 win over El-Kanemi Warriors at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
Ikechukwu ‘Mosquito’ Ibenegbu opened the scoring with a stunning free-kick on the stroke of half-time while Chinonso Okonkwo added the second for the Peoples Elephant with a straightforward tap-in just after the hour mark.
Stanley Dimgba scored a late third for Enyimba as they completed a comprehensive victory at home.
The Ilorin Township Stadium played host to the day’s most exciting game; a six-goal slugfest between ABS FC and Sunshine Stars which the visitors edged 4-2.
The champions, Enugu Rangers have been anything but convincing this term and on Sunday, they drew 1-1 with relegation-threatened Shooting Stars at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
Aguda Godwin had put the Flying Antelopes ahead on the half hour but Abu Azeez snatched an unlikely point for the Oluyole Warriors with the equaliser in the 80th minute.
Chinedu Udechukwu and Suleiman Ibrahim were both on target for Katsina United in the 2-1 win over Lobi Stars at the Muhammadu Dikko (Karkanda) Stadium while Wikki Tourists were 2-0 winners over Kano Pillars thanks to goals from Ahmed Usman and Chinedu Onyelonu.
Abia Warriors continued their steady season with a 2-0 win over Nasarawa United in Umuahia with gangly Sunday Adetunji scoring the Warriors’ second from the penalty spot shortly before the end.
Sani Abbani and Sani Suleiman ensured El-Kanemi Warriors left the Pantami Stadium, Gombe with their tails firmly between their legs as their strikes, either side of half-time proved decisive for Gombe United in the 2-0 victory.
Rangers International were on Sunday crowned champions of the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League.
The Enugu-based club demolished El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri 4-0 in their last match of the season to seal the title.
Chisom Egbuchulam scored a hat trick while Osas Okoro scored one to help Rangers win their first league title in 32 years.
The Flying Antelopes amassed a total of 63 points from 38 games to finish first among the 19 competing clubs.
While it was a carnival-like atmosphere at the Cathedral on Sunday, the late injury suffered by forward Ifeanyi Egwim was the only sour point in a largely flawless display by the Enugu State-owned team.