Home Sports Football NPFL’s title, survival, golden boot contests: The numbers

NPFL’s title, survival, golden boot contests: The numbers

6 min read

By Andrew Randa

The 2021/22 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has produced some outstanding displays, great goals and breakout stars.

Dakkada’s Emmanuel Anyaosi was relatively unknown before the start of the season but he, alongside Mustapha Salisu of Katsina, has been one of the revelations of the season.

The youngsters’ have come into the league and stamped their authority within a season in which they’ve shown they will be stars of the future, if everything goes on well.

Nduka Junior, captain of Remo Stars, has also shown his quality with some brilliant displays for the Ikenne-Remo side as they keep in touch with the big players at fifth place on the log.

Abdulazeez Yusuf of Gombe United is proving himself as capable with his goals keeping the club mid-table, far away from where pundits reckoned they will be by this time of the season having only returned to the topflight at the beginning of this term.

Fifteen goals in 33 games isn’t a bad return for him but he is in good company as three other players are currently tied with him for the top scorers diadem.

Enyimba’s Victor Mbaoma needs no introduction – 15 goals (including a hat-trick against Kwara United last weekend) have shown why he is highly rated. His form has been helpful to Enyimba’s fourth position on the table and was recently part of the Super Eagles tour of North America.

Chijioke Akuneto of Rivers United has quietly worked his way into the limelight with 16 goals for Rivers United who are in the first place. Much attention was on Nyima Nwagua to get the goals for the Port-Harcourt side following his move from Kano Pillars but Akuneto, alongside Ishaq Rafiu have been the men with the goals. Ishaq’s 14 goals and Akuneto’s 16 plus five from Nwagua have made the table toppers the highest-scoring team in the league with 53 goals, eight more than second-placed Plateau United.

There is also the small matter of Chijioke Ejiogu who has continued to defy logic and start first team games in his 22nd season as a professional in the top flight. Despite Heartland’s woes, Ejiogu has been one of the shining lights of another bad campaign for the Owerri side.

Plateau United have the joint third meanest defence (Sunshine Stars being the other) in the NPFL (23), and this can be attributed to the centre back pairing of Andrew Ikefe and Buhari Ibrahim who have stood like the Rock of Gibraltar. Ibrahim, especially has been doing the business at the back and upfront.

Not contented with defending goals, the centre back, who was also part of the Super Eagles for the friendly games with Mexico and Ecuador, has notched up six goals – the highest for any defender this season.

All of these players – and a lot more – have made the 2021/22 a brilliant one for fans.

With five games to go, here are some stats to rummage on:

Top 3: Rivers United, Plateau United, Rangers
Bottom 3: Dakkada, Heartland, MFM
Top goal-scoring team: Rivers United (53)
Meanest defence: Rivers United (19)
Lowest goals tally: MFM (22)
Top scorers: Chijioke Akuneto (16), Abdulazeez Yusuf (15), Victor Mbaoma (15),  Ishaq Rafiu (14)
Highest number of wins: Rivers United (21)
Highest number of losses: Katsina United and Dakkada (17)
Highest number of draws: Akwa United (12)
Highest number of points: Rivers United (70)
Lowest number of points: MFM (33)

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