We have come to the final matchday of the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League season. We have had various twists and turns in the last 37 matchdays but nothing beats the sight of the finish line in a marathon.
While we await a grand finish on Sunday, let’s look book at the final day of the 2014/15 season and see how much lessons we can apply this season.
1. Continental Slots For Grabs
Last season, Lafia hosted a match that would determine who joins Enyimba and Warri Wolves in the continent. Nasarawa United were the hosts and needed all 3 points from visitors Giwa FC. The match didn’t get to the 90th minute as the visitors walked out with the Solid Miners leading 2-0. Giwa FC also needed the 3 points to finish 3rd.
On Sunday, FC IfeanyiUbah, Wikki Tourists and Rivers United will be vying for the remaining two continental slots. Fair play, proper officiating and good team coordination will be appreciated.
2. Relegation Battles
Dolphins (now Rivers United) miraculously escaped relegation with a spirited 2-2 draw in Ibadan on the last day. I was very excited. This season Heartland, MFM and Warri Wolves are in similar battles. Everyone is interested in how it ends in Jos, Agege and Warri. Hopefully the rains don’t postpone the Warri game to the next day like last season. We believe there will be no 13-0 around but goal difference seperates MFM from Warri Wolves now. Watch out.
3. Trophy Presentation
I was at the Teslim Balogun Stadium last season when Enyimba were presented with the trophy. It was not a pleasant sight. The game on the day ended 0-0 with Sunshine Stars but the final whistle was like the gun shot in a 100m race. The Enyimba fans raced to the pitch and were joined by the neutrals. Efforts were made to keep them off the presentation area but they had their way.
I longed for a presentation like the ones we watch in foreign leagues but my hopes were dashed like an egg against the concrete. The cheerleaders became uncomfortable, Mallam Shehu Dikko struggled to hand Chinedu Udoji the trophy. The stewards could do little or nothing and the security watched. I was disappointed.
Oh LMC, ensure Rangers get it right for us. The pitch invasion earned Enyimba a fine but the presentation was already marred. The fans trooped to the pitch when Rangers defeated Sunshine Stars in Matchday 36, this should be prevented from happening. We know what passion can do but let’s get it right.
Let us paint the best picture we can. Breaking a 32 year jinx shouldn’t be devalued by poor presentations. Adequate stewards and security officials will be needed. We have a lot of followers now and we must keep them and make ourselves proud.
One last thing, we don’t need to have a chopper hover from Enugu to Uyo with the trophy. Smile. Or do we? Do we have two trophies?
Congratulations LMC. One step closer.