-Beat El-Kanemi 4-0 On Season’s Last Day
-Beat El-Kanemi 4-0 On Season’s Last Day
-Amapakabo Happy To Break 32-year Jinx
Rangers International of Enugu were on Sunday crowned champions of Nigeria, lifting their first tile after a 32-year wait, following a 4-0 trouncing of visiting El Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri, to finish top of the table on the final day of the season.
‘The Flying Antelope’ finished on 63 points from 36 matches, three points ahead of runners-up Rivers United.
Both teams will represent Nigeria in next year’s CAF Champions League, while third-placed Wikki Tourists, who defeated Sunshine Stars 2-0, will feature in the CAF confederation Cup.
Chisom Egbuchulam fired a hat-trick to propel his club into the history books.
He stepped forward to give his team the lead after just three minutes from the penalty spot after an El Kanemi defender handled a Bobby Clement shot inside his box.
Osas Okoro doubled the lead with a clinical finish after receiving a pass from Obinna Nwobodo in the 42nd minute.
Egbuchulam scored his brace in the 64th with the best goal of the day before he completed his hat-trick in stoppage time again from the penalty spot after El Kanemi goalkeeper Kazeem Yekeen broight down goal-bound Ifeanyi Egwim.
Meanwhile Ranagers Coach Imama Amapakabo who was understandably dumbfounded after the heroic performance said he is excited winning the top-flight title in his first stint as head coach of the Enugu outfit.
“It’s unfortunate that the whole season campaign has to end on somehow sad note with the last minute injury on substitute, Ifeanyi Egwim.
“However, we are thankful to God that Enugu Rangers are champions of the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
“This glorious performance happened after anxious waiting for a whole 32 years.
“The players have been exceptionally wonderful from start to finish and they truly imbibe the catchword campaign ‘believe’.
“I’m excited beyond word and need to sleep and wake up as well as pinch myself severally to be sure that what is going on at the moment is not mere dream but reality.
“I know we are champions after the hard fought win at Ikorodu United but I wanted us to be pronounced officially as champions after the final day clash against El Kanemi Warriors.
“I’m happy winning the top-flight title in my first stint as coach of Enugu Rangers.
“I want to sleep over what is going on right now perhaps when I wake up the celebration will start in full swing,” said the former Enyimba coach said.
Dikko Happy With League Season
Chairman of League Management Company (LMC), Mallam Shehu Dikko has said that he is very elated the Nigeria Professional season was a great one, saying that the competition this season was totally outstanding.
He added that he and his board members will put in their very best to ensure that next season is even more successful.
Dikko told SportsDay exclusively that he was very delighted with the performances of the teams all through, saying this season was a glorious one.
He enthused that next season will bring more excitement and competitiveness and that all plans are in place to make sure next season is more befitting and enjoyable one.
He added that all they want to do every season is to improve on the previous year and that they will work hard to surpass this year’s feat.
“I want to say am totally elated about this season and Rangers played well and they deserve to be champions,” he said
“All the teams did well and we are happy with the competitiveness from all teams and we congratulate Rangers as the new champions”
“I am very optimistic next year will be greater. If you watched the games from week one you will agree with me that it was a very competitive and interesting season.
“I was really impressed with the season. We saw how the crowds came out to support their teams at various venues that will show you the level the league has attained.
“We will put in our best to make sure everything is always in place for the teams to perform well.
“The referees are very important to the success of any league and we have always held them with great significance. They did very well and we will continue to give them the best for them to give their best always”
“Will continue to support them at all times, because referees are very important and we will continue to do our best to make the League great by the grace of God,” he concluded
Clement: We Are Worthy Champions
Rangers International of Enugu superbly gifted striker, Bobby Clement, has said that his side are worthy winners of this year’s Nigeria Professional Football League, saying that they really worked hard from the start of the season to achieve this great feat.
The ever reliable striker told SportsDay via telephone after claiming the NPFLtitle after a 4-0 spanking of El Kanemi warriors on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu
The big striker added that he and his team mates are really happy to see that their hard work all through the season paid off after 32years wait.
He added that Rivers Utd and other teams gave them a good fight for the title, but that they kept their heads high all through the season to make sure they achieve their dream.
“I want to first give God all the glory for making this dream come true, because if not for him all our efforts would have been futile, “ he said
“Our hard work all through the season paid of, because the almighty father was fully involved.
“The entire team really worked for each other through out the season. I must say the team was purely united for the target and we are very happy we got it,” he added.
“We will not stop here, we will make sure we bring glory back to this country in the CAF Champions league, we will put in all our best and by the grace of God the CAF champions league will be ours too next season”
“I must say the season was highly contested and it brought out the best in the league this season. Rivers Utd, Ifeanyiubah and other teams are all good teams and I must say they gave us a great fight, but I thank God for giving us the title after this long wait and I must thank our fans and management for their inflicting support all through the season,” he concluded
Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Rangers 36 18 9 9 53 37 16 63
2 Rivers United 36 19 3 14 38 29 9 60
3 Wikki Tourists 36 16 9 11 45 28 17 57
4 FC Ifeanyiubah 36 16 8 12 37 33 4 56
5 Lobi Stars 36 16 7 13 41 35 6 55
6 Sunshine Stars 36 14 11 11 44 37 7 53
7 Kano Pillars 36 15 7 14 47 40 7 52
8 El-Kanemi 36 16 3 17 37 42 -5 51
9 Enyimba 36 14 8 14 34 35 -1 50
10 Nasarawa 36 16 2 18 41 43 -2 50
11 Tornadoes 36 15 4 17 40 42 -2 49
12 Plateau 36 13 10 13 33 36 -3 49
13 Abia Warriors 36 12 12 12 35 39 -4 48
14 Akwa United 36 13 8 15 45 46 -1 47
15 3SC 36 14 5 17 41 48 -7 47
16 MFM FC 36 12 9 15 36 40 -4 45
17 Warri Wolves 36 12 9 15 28 37 -9 45
18 Heartland 36 11 11 14 25 30 -5 44
19 Ikorodu United 36 7 11 18 32 55 -23 32
20 Giwa FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ganaru Dumps Kano Pillars
Mohammed Babaganaru has announced his resignation as coach of Kano Pillars on the final day of the season Sunday.
Pillars were forced to a 1-1 draw at home by Niger Tornadoes today.
They will finish in the top-10 bracket, which is widely regarded as a failure for a club who pride themselves of having won the Nigerian champions four times.
Babaganaru, who won the Pillars back-to-back champions three seasons ago, was posting his second spell at the club after he moved to Nasarawa
Gombe, Katsina Utd Win NPFL Tickets
Gombe United and Katsina United have both gained promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The two clubs recorded respective wins in their final Nigeria National League (NNL) matches on Saturday to seal their return to the country’s top flight.
Katsina United beat Kogi United 1-0 at home in their final league game of the season to finish as the champions in NNL group A1 with 26 points from 14 matches.
Gombe United won away from home, 2-0 against Supreme Court to underline their status as top dogs in NNL group A2 which they finished with 28 points from 14 matches.
The two clubs thus join Remo Stars as the other NNL side that have gained promotion to the NPFL ahead of next season.
One more club will be promoted to the NPFL from the NNL.
FC Taraba Relegated To Amateur League
FC Taraba will play in Nigeria’s amateur league next year after they were demoted from the country’s top league only two seasons ago.
Today, the Jalingo club were demoted from the Nigeria National League to see them slide to non-league football.
Other NNL clubs going down include Yarmalight and Shakarau Babes, who are promptly returning to non-league football after a season in the second-tier division.
Supreme Court will also go down after they lost 3-1 at home to promoted Gombe United this afternoon.
Supreme Court have featured in the NNL for four seasons.
General manager Tolulope Oguntimehin promised they will bounce back to the NNL.
“We hope to come back immediately,” he vowed.
“We lost it when a good number of our players left for greener pastures after we featured in a pre-season tournament in Ijebu-Ode.”