Battle for survival as Nigeria Premier League ends Friday

Nigeria Premier League
Nigeria Premier League

Nigeria Premier League comes to an end with an anti-climax.

Seven months of ups and downs, twist and turns, will finally come to a halt on  Friday as the 2011/12 Nigeria Premier League season come to an end.

For many it is be will be an anti-climax following Wednesday’s decision by the League management to expel Ocean Boys from the League and  subsequently deduct points gained from or lost to the Yenagoa based team, a situation which already throws up Kano Pillars as  the season’s champion.

Before now, the League was a three-horse race amongst Pillars, Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers, with all three teams still standing a chance of winning the league on the last day of action.

Nonetheless, whilst the drama of who wins the league is off the radar, the battle of survival looks equally interesting as standings on the league table shows that as much as seven teams still stand the risk of being relegated into the lower division.

Most shocking amongst the relegation haunted team is the League’s defending champion, Dolphins, who will be playing at home to already relegated, Rising Stars.

If Rising Stars chose to play a spoilers role and can escape the defeat in Port Harcourt, Dolphins are at risk of going down to the lower division, a situation their Media Officer, China Acheru, remains upbeat will not happen.

 The Garden City landlords start the day in 16th position with 47 points in their kitty, knowing what can befall them if they fail to get maximum points against their opponent.

Another relegation dog fight will be between Niger Tornadoes and Jigawa Golden Stars with the battle fixed for the Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna.

Tornadoes Striker, Sibi Gwar, who already has 16 goals to his credit, will have to get his scoring boots on again as victory alone might not be adequate to save the Minna team from going down to the National league.

Tornadoes are second from the bottom with 45 points whereas their opponents, Jigawa Golden, are hanging on with 48 points.

Gombe United will also be playing host to Warri Wolves with both teams not yet sure of their safety in the NPL top division. Currently tied on 48 points each, either team can go down if they lose today’s make or mar encounter.

Usaman Shehu, Gombe United defender, told PREMIUM TIMES that they will surely get the needed victory promising they will cage the wolves and get the desired three points.

“We will beat Wolves I am sure,” the defender boasted.

“If we cannot win anything in the season at least we should make sure we do not relegate,” he said.

Other games

In some other fixtures, it will be a battle of warriors when Oluyole Warriors confront Afonja Warriors in Ilorin.  Season Champions Kano Pillars travel to face Sunshine in Ijebu Ode, while the duo of Rangers and Lobi Stars, former title hopefuls, will lock horns with Sharks and Kaduna United respectively.

Week 38 fixtures

Kaduna United v Lobi Stars -Kaduna Township Stadium17:00

Enyimba v Wikki Tourists -Enyimba Sports Stadium17:00

Sunshine Stars v Kano Pillars -Dipo Dina Stadium17:00

Niger Tornadoes v Jigawa Golden Stars -Bako Kontagora Stadium17:00

Heartland v Akwa United -Dan Anyiam Stadium17:00

Gombe United v Warri Wolves -Pantimi Stadium17:00

Kwara United v 3SC -Ilorin Township Stadium17:00

Enugu Rangers v Sharks -Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium17:00

Dolphins v Rising Stars -Liberation Stadium17:00