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Highlights of the NPFL 2016/17 season – Punch Newspapers

With the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League season drawn to an in depth final week, Idris Adesina takes a take a look at some highlights of the season

The 2016/17 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League got here to a climax on Saturday with completely different tales for various golf equipment in the topflight division.

Plateau United comfortably secured their first ever league triumph with a 2-Zero victory over 2015/2016 champions Enugu Rangers in Jos, whereas different positions of observe have been claimed by golf equipment in pole place to take action earlier than the remaining day spherical of matches.

Plateau’s emergence as champions got here as a shock to many pundits however former Nigeria worldwide Joseph Dosu, mentioned it confirmed a optimistic improvement in the league.

“The season was a profitable one going by the undeniable fact that it threw up quite a bit of surprises. The conventional title successful groups struggled whereas groups, who weren’t given possibilities in any respect, proved their critics in any other case,” he mentioned.

“Plateau’s emergence as champions confirmed that the league was pretty contested and everybody needs to guard their dwelling turf in opposition to defeat. But going ahead, the League Management Company, who did effectively in administering the league, would have famous many extra areas to work on.”

Retired league star, Victor Ezeji, mentioned the winners deserved the title.

He mentioned, “For Plateau to win the league for a primary time confirmed that they’ll show their mettle wherever. But I hope they strengthen the group for efficient efficiency on the continent.  The group had fighters reasonably than gamers and so they fought until the final day. MFM additionally tried and they need to enhance on their away kind forward of subsequent season.

“The pitches additionally want quite a bit of enchancment particularly for groups going for continental competitions. In all, the season was a superb one apart from the pockets of violence, and the LMC tried to punish the offenders.”

A league season with 380 matches all the time comes with heaps of thrilling, superb and even exhilarating moments. Here are some of these moments from the out-gone season.

Plateau’s first title

From the first day of the season, Plateau, who’re coached by former worldwide, Kennedy Boboye, had proven their intent to win the league. They had sat at the high of the desk from their first match in opposition to Remo Stars, which they gained 2-1 in Sagamu.

They have been solely deposed just a few occasions by closest rivals, MFM, on Match Days 1, 14, 16 and 18. Resolute at dwelling and dogged away, they scored 39 objectives at dwelling, greater than some other group (besides Akwa United who scored identical quantity in Uyo) and had the finest away file in the league, accruing 13 factors on the highway.

Plateau went on a seven-game unbeaten run at the begin of the season till it ended in opposition to Akwa United in the eighth week of the season with a 2-1 loss in Uyo. They would have gained the league with 4 matches to spare after they beat MFM 1-Zero on Match Day 34. But a string of losses dragged their triumph until the final day once they defeated Rangers 2-Zero in Jos.

MFM stun bookmakers

No one gave the Olukoya Boys an opportunity at the begin of the season – provided that they struggled to flee relegation of their first season in the topflight.

Parading one of the youngest and inexperienced squad in the league final season, MFM had a modest facet and fought to carry their very own in the league – attaining their purpose to earn a continental ticket.

Playing at their Agege Stadium dwelling, they misplaced 14 matches away and drew 5 enroute to ending second. MFM largely relied on their dwelling kind to remain in the title race until the final day once they misplaced 2-1 to El-Kanemi Warriors in Maiduguri. Seventeen of their 19 victories – 51 per cent, being the joint highest in the league — have been in Lagos. Their two away victories got here in opposition to Sunshine and Remo Stars in Akure and Sagamu respectively.

Olatunbosun’s CNN aim

Having 260 gamers scoring 763 objectives throughout the video games concluded throughout the season, there would definitely be quite a bit of superb objectives.

Nigerian league soccer dominated world headlines for the proper causes early in March as a result of of Sikiru Olatunbosun’s outrageous effort in opposition to Rangers on February 24. It was one of the few matches performed on Friday nights.

Olatubosun obtained a flick from striker Stephen Odey earlier than he took a superb first contact to chip the ball over Rangers defender Mathew Etim and instantly adopted it with a ferocious volley from 25 yards, over goalkeeper Itodo Akor and into the web.

The aim beat three different objectives from different elements of the world to win the CNN Goal of the Week.

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