The 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League title will be contested by two powerhouses of Nigerian football: Enyimba and defending Champions, Rivers United who are looking to retain the title they won last season. Both sides have shown class and superiority so far as the playoffs draw to a close this Sunday at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos.
Enyimba, led by former Super Eagles midfielder, Finidi George currently lead the log on goal difference as both teams are tied on 8 points after 4 matches each. The People’s Elephant are on top having scored more goals and conceded less than Rivers United who will look to console themselves with the title having crashed out of the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederations Cup.
Finidi George’s side started the competition with a 2-2 draw against Remo Stars before edging Lobi Stars 1 nil in their second match. A 1-1 draw against Bendel Insurance on matchday 3 put their title hopes in doubt but the former champions swept away Sunshine Stars 3 nil on matchday 4 as they maintained the top spot on the log.
Rivers United began the quest to retain their title on a good note as they recorded a 1-nil win over Sunshine Stars. Stanley Efuma’s side were very close to defeat in their second match but a late goal from Adefemi Lukman earned them a point against Daniel Ogunmodede’s Remo Stars in a pulsating match. Rivers United earned another point against arguably the poorest team in the competition, Lobi Stars in their third match.
However, the Port Harcourt-based side ended the 21 matches unbeaten run of Bendel Insurance as they pipped Mark Odigie’s side 2-1 to tie Enyimba on points on the log.
Ahead of the final on Sunday at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Enyimba need a point to be crowned champions while Rivers United need to beat Enyimba by at least 3 goals to retain their title. Both teams have 8 points each but Enyimba are leading the table based on a +4 goal difference.
The title will be contested between Rivers United and Enyimba but Bendel Insurance and Remo Stars have a sole continental ticket to contest for. Remo Stars got their first win in the competition after a 2-nil win over Lobi Stars while Bendel Insurance remain winless having drawn 3 and lost one.
Remo Stars need just a point to qualify for next season’s CAF Confederations Cup while Bendel Insurance need to score at least 4 goals without conceding to go third on the log and book their spot on the continent next season. However, should Bendel Insurance fail to beat Remo Stars emphatically, they have another chance to redeem themselves when they take on Enugu Rangers in the final of the Federation Cup on June 21st at the late Steven Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State.