Four genuine title contenders as NPFL returns

The long-awaited return of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is almost over with the season’s opener billed for Saturday.

Three-time champions, Kano Pillars, will set the ball running with a mouth-watering clash against Federation Cup winners, FC IfeanyiUbah, while the other nine fixtures will take place on Sunday.

With every team jostling for the top prize, here are four sides who could genuinely win the league.

  1. Enugu Rangers

It took Enugu Rangers 32 years to add to their six NPFL titles but it doesn’t seem like the Flying Antelopes will wait that long for another triumph. This is because the defending champions managed to retain the spine of that conquering side with Chisom Egbuchulam the only player to have left. Also, Rangers were able to tie down Imama Amapakabo – the man behind their successful campaign last term. They play Abia Warriors in the league opener before facing Nasarawa United and El Kanemi Warriors.

  1. FC IfeanyiUbah

FC IfeanyiUbah will definitely continue their unbelievable rise in the domestic league by challenging for the title this season. Just two years after the club was formed, it finished fourth in the league as well as clinch the Federation Cup. The club which is owned by oil magnate, Ifeanyi Ubah, has no qualms when it comes to spending big in the transfer market. They will also be boosted by the return of young Brazilian coach, Rafael Everton, who initially walked away from the club.

  1. Rivers United

Many Rivers United fans still find it difficult to digest how they narrowly lost the league title to Rangers. Rivers, who finished three points behind the Flying Antelopes, even won more games than the eventual winners. However, it’s definitely a fresh start for Stanley Eguma and his lads who will be motivated after clinching the Super Four title at the expense of Rangers. Rivers also had probably the best pre-season by any NPFL side. The Port Harcourt-based club who went on a tour of Spain where they defeated Villarreal and held by CD Roda.

  1. Enyimba

Enyimba is one of those teams you can’t just rule out for the title each season. The Peoples’ Elephant might have disappointed last term by finishing outside the continental places but that could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Enyimba, Nigeria’s record league winners tied with Rangers, might benefit from the extra fixture schedules of their rivals. They will also be inspired by the appointment of ex-Shooting Stars coach, Gbenga Ogunbote. Enyimba will begin their assault on the NPFL with a home clash against Sunshine Stars.