The World Cup break is over but the NPFL is yet to resume. The “NFF Crises” which almost resulted in a FIFA ban is “settled” but weeks after, there is yet to be an NPFL match played.
Originally billed to be completed on the 30th of September, the 2018 NPFL has 14 matchdays left to be completed. CAF’s resolution to change from to the FIFA/UEFA calendar means countries have till October 15th to submit the names of clubs that will represent them in the CAF Club competitions.
With Nigeria’s continental slot reduced to one per competition, the NFF need to provide two clubs to represent the country. How will that be done within 45 days? The league has 14 matches yet played and the AITEO Cup has not even started. What a dead end.
The quick way out will be to end the league as it is and start up the AITEO Cup so it is completed before October 15. Ending the 2018 NPFL now would be unfair and void of integrity.
What do we do?
First, we must all agree that there is one non-negotiable: The 2018 NPFL must be completed by playing the remaining 14 Matchdays before a champion is crowned and 4 teams relegated. It may extend beyond CAF’s deadline, but it is the noblest thing to do.
It is a difficult choice to overlook next seasons CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup seeing that Nigeria’s slot was recently reduced due to our poor outings. Hopefully, Enyimba’s progress to the knockout phase can help restore the Nigeria’s initial slot in the 2019/2010 season.
Next, we can draw out a workable schedule that mustn’t end by October 15 but must end before November 20. Whosoever that is top two on the NPFL table as at October 15 will represent Nigeria in the CAF Club Competitions. But this does not mean that the table topper will be crowned champions.
The league will continue after the said deadline, a winner will be crowned, 4 teams will be relegated and 4 teams will be promoted from the NNL. The AITEO Cup can be played immediately after.
What happens to next season?
We can start the next season in January 2019. We can decide how we want it to run before then.
Summary: Draw a new schedule, send the top two teams as representatives by October 15, continue league till finish, start AITEO Cup, end AITEO cup, end season.
Lobi Stars and Akwa United may be top two by October 15. They would represent Nigeria but will not be crowned champions till the end of the 38 Matchdays.
Note that the CAF Confederation final is on November 23/30 while the new season kicks off on November 27 with the preliminary round.
My Suggested Schedule
- MD 25: September 4
- MD 26: September 8
- MD 27: September 15
- MD 28: September 19
- MD 29: September 22
- Enyimba Rescheduled match: September 26
- MD 30: September 29/30
- MD 31: October 5/6
- Enyimba Rescheduled match: October 9
- MD 32: October 13
- MD 33: October 19
- MD 34: October 23
- MD 35: October 28
- MD 36: October 31
- MD 37: November 4
- MD 38: November 11
- Aiteo Cup: November 17 to December.
- New season: January 6.
This can work.