Home / News / Local / 2022/2023 NPFL Draw: Akwa United to host Bendel Insurance in star fixture opener (See other fixtures)

2022/2023 NPFL Draw: Akwa United to host Bendel Insurance in star fixture opener (See other fixtures)

 

Abuja, Dec. 28, 2022

Akwa United Football Club of Uyo will lock horns with Bendel Insurance of Edo in the star match of the 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matchday one fixture.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the draw for the 2022/2023 NPFL took place on Wednesday in Abuja.

The draw, conducted by Sunday Obaseki, Head of Department, Competitions in the NPFL saw a total of 20 teams, nine from the North and 11 from the South, grouped into two pools of A and B, with Matchday 1 set for Jan. 8, 2023.

The 20 NPFL teams were pitched against each other for the purpose of the abridged league season,  proposed by the NPFL Interim Management Committee (IMC) and approved by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The game between Akwa United and Bendel Insurance of Benin in pool A was selected as the star match of matchday one fixture.

The mouth-watering fixture, expected to take place at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium Uyo, will see Insurance who are returning to the top-flight league after several years of absence take on the 2020/2021 NPFL Champions.

Insurance who emerged champions of the Nigeria National League (NNL) at the end of the Super 4 tournament in Bayelsa, will be eager to prove their mettle against the heavy weights having not tasted top-flight action for a very long time.

Kudos to the Edo State government, the management team of Bendel Insurance as well as the former U-17 Head Coach Monday Odige tutored side for the recent success achieved by the team.

They take on an NPFL giant in Akwa United who have been consistent in the top-flight league since making their debut in the 2007/2008 season.

The Uyo based clubside went on to win the league in the 2020/2021 season and represented Nigeria in the CAF Champions League as well as in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Other matchday one fixtures will see former champions Plateau United of Jos take on a rejuvenated Shooting Stars of Ibadan clubside who recently emerged champions of the Super 4 in Ikenne, Ogun State, in pool A.

Also in pool A, eight-time champions and the most successful club side in the country, Enyimba International Football Club of Aba would open their account against fellow NPFL giants, Nasarawa United at the Lafia Township Stadium.

In pool B, one of the surprise teams of the NNL and privately owned clubside Doma United of Gombe are up against Sunshine Stars at the Gombe Township Stadium, Pantami.

Current NPFL Champions will do battle against Lobi Stars, while Rangers International of Enugu lock horns with Abia Warriors of Umuahia in an oriental derby in pool B.

Chairman of the IMC, Gbenga Elegbeleye said  the organizers have secured a sponsor to foot the indemnities of match officials for the next three years.

He added that the  payments will   be done directly from the company to the appointed match officials.

“We are committed to eradicating the malaise of indebtedness to match officials, which compromises them and lowers their morale to do the right thing.

“The IMC has also increased the winner’s prize for the season to the sum of N100 Million, which is a hundred percent increase on what was in place previously,” he said.

He said that the IMC had already secured lofty sponsorship deals for the league, which would indeed add to the fortunes of the Nigerian league in the new season.

He also assured that IMC would ensure that the season was hitch-free of violence, thuggery and other vices that can bring the game to disrepute.

He warned that any club that breaks the law through acts of violence would not be fined N500,000.00 as was witnessed in the past, but three points would automatically be deducted from the team to serve as a deterrent to others.

Ibrahim Musa Gusau, the President of the NFF applauded the IMC of the NPFL for its efforts to reposition the Nigeria League, following the conduct of the draw.

Gusau who was represented at the event by the NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire said the NFF was satisfied with the efforts being made by the committee so far.

“Let me state clearly that the NFF is satisfied with the efforts the IMC has been making to rebrand and reposition the NPFL since its inauguration.

“The NFF commends the IMC Chairman and all his members for the highly successful pre-season tournament held earlier in the month, and also for the actualisation of this Draw Ceremony.

“The commitment to engineer changes that will deliver a vibrant Nigerian League and a viable football economy in the country remains as firm as ever.

“The NFF will continue to provide the necessary support to the IMC to fulfill its terms of reference in flying colours,” he said.

NAN also reports that present at the ceremony was the Minister of Sports and Youth  Development, Sunday Dare who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Abba Yola.

Also in attendance were Daniel Amokachi, the Special Assistant to the President on Sports, the Vice Chairman of the IMC, Paul Bassey, David Onwunmi, Secretary of the IMC and other IMC members.

Others include, Chikelue Iloenyosi, Chairman, Anambra State Football Association as well as ex-Internationals Victor Ikpeba, Augustine Eguaveon, Ann Agumanu-Chiejine, amongst others.

FULL TEAM GROUPINGS/MATCHDAY ONE FIXTURES

GROUP A

Kwara United
Nasarawa United
Plateau United
Gombe United
El-Kanemi Warriors
Enyimba FC
Akwa United
Bendel Insurance
Shooting Stars
Remo Stars

GROUP B

Niger Tornadoes
Doma United
Wikki Tourists
Lobi Stars
Rivers United
Abia Warriors
Dakkada FC
Rangers Int’l
Sunshine Stars
Bayelsa United

MATCHDAY 1 (A)
Nasarawa United Vs Enyimba FC
Akwa United Vs Bendel Insurance
Plateau United Vs Shooting Stars
Kwara United Vs Gombe United
Remo Stars Vs El-Kanemi Warriors

MATCHDAY 1 (B)
Bayelsa United Vs Dakkada FC
Wikki Tourists Vs Niger Tornadoes
Doma United Vs Sunshine Stars
Rivers United Vs Lobi Stars
Rangers Int’l Vs Abia Warriors.

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