Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau has clarified that the 2022/23 season has to be abridged to provide an avenue for players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to benefit from opportunities of competing for places in other leagues in the world.
At the presentation of ₦200 million takeoff grant to the 20 NPFL clubs, Gusau said that aligning with the international calendar would also help the clubs have sufficient time to prepare for CAF club competitions.
“Today is a great day, a day we are going to change the narrative of football administration in Nigeria in fulfilment of one of my campaign promise.
“The abridged league is a child of necessity as we want to take certain actions to bring our league the way other good leagues are run all over the world and it’s not about submitting names of club representatives to CAF because our players must have a break to rejuvenate, opportunities to play anywhere in the world in global transfer windows”, Gusau explained.
He said that it is in the light of these facts that the next season must commence in August 2023 so that clubs can have sufficient time to prepare for CAF competitions.
In accepting the symbolic cheque on behalf of his members, the Chairman of NPFL Club Owners Association, Barrister Danladi Isaac pledged their cooperation with the Interim Management Committee of the NPFL, and thanked the NFF President and GTI Group for their support for the league.
The 20 NPFL teams are grouped into two with Group A featuring last season’s runners-up Plateau United, third placed Remo Stars, and the most decorated team in Nigeria’s topflight league, Enyimba. Others are former continental champions Shooting Stars, 2020/21 champions Akwa United, Nasarawa United, Kwara United (fourth last season), Gombe United and two promoted sides – Bendel Insurance and El-Kanemi Warriors.
In Group B are defending champions Rivers United, seven-time winners Rangers, Wikki Tourists, Sunshine Stars, Niger Tornadoes, Abia Warriors, Dakkada, Lobi Stars, Abia Warriors, and two sides that gained promotion from the Nigeria National League – Bayelsa United and Doma United.
The season was scheduled to commence on Sunday, 9th January but there reports that only Akwa United versus Bendel Insurance in Group A will be played on that day.