Today (May 8), we return to the thrills of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). The second stanza of the 2020/21 season begins with Matchday 20, 33 days after the last match on Matchday 19. Within the break, all but two of the rescheduled matches were played.

Irrespective of the challenges associated with collating data in the NPFL, we dug into the available data for the 188 matches played before the second stanza and these are the statistical highlights.

Table toppers – Kwara United FC

The Good (Teams)

Kwara United are on top of the table with 36 points and a superior goal difference (13) than Kano Pillars who are also on 36 points. Kwara United are second best on goals scored (25) and have conceded the second fewest goals (12) this season. They have recorded the fewest number of losses (3) – joint best with Akwa United. The Ilorin based side have the best away record this season with 12 points. Spending 60% of the season so far on top of the log, can they hold on till the end of the season?

Kwara United

  • 36 total points – Joint best
  • 12 away points – Best
  • 8 unbeaten run – Second best
  • 4 back-to-back clean sheets – Best
  • 3 away wins – Joint best
  • 3 total losses – Joint best
  • 25 goals scored – Second best
  • 12 goals conceded – Second best
  • 13 goals difference – Best
  • 80 days on top of the NPFL – Best

No team won more matches than Kano Pillars (11) in the first stanza. This was boosted by their last four matches which they won – their joint longest unbeaten run this season. Enyimba FC is the only other team that won 4 consecutive NPFL matches this season.

Kano Pillars FC

Akwa United are currently unbeaten in 9 matches – the longest by any team this season. They had a good spell of scoring in 11 consecutive matches – only Abia Warriors had a longer scoring run (12). With just 11 goals conceded – the fewest in the league, Akwa United are third on the table with only 2 points away from the leading duo.

The Bad (Teams)

Sunshine Stars have the longest winless run this season (12) and failed to score in 4 consecutive matches this season – the joint worst in the league.

Sunshine Stars – searching for win since January 31, 2021.

Adamawa United waited till Matchday 12 to record their first win of the season. They are currently bottom of the table with just 2 wins, and they are the only team yet to score 10 goals this season (8). They have only scored once on the road. They have been at the bottom of the table since Matchday 6.

Katsina United remain the only team with no points on the road this season – P10 L10. They also have a weird record of being the only team yet to record two consecutive unbeaten matches this season. 

Adamawa United FC

The Others (Teams)

Lobi Stars listed a total of 44 players on Matchdays in the first stanza of the 2020/21 NPFL – at least 5 more than any other team & 9 more than the average by the 20 clubs (35). MFM FC (39), Heartland (39), & Sunshine Stars (39) make up the top four teams with most players listed so far. Abia Warriors, Katsina United and Nasarawa United have used a smaller squad with a total 30 players listed on matchdays.

Enyimba FC, Kano Pillars Nasarawa United and Rivers United are the only teams that never left the top half of the table. Wikki Tourists are the only team yet to make an appearance in the top half of the NPFL table.

The Players

Sadeeq Yusuf and Ndifreke Effiong scored 8 goals each in the first stanza. While the former fired blanks in 11 games and failed to score since Matchday 11 (Feb 21), the latter has left Akwa United for Al-Ahly Benghazi of Libya. Sadeeq Yusuf’s goals account for ~62% of Sunshine Stars goals this season – the highest percentage by any player.

Rabiu Ali, Godwin Obaje, Michael Ohanu & Stephen Jude are on 7 goals. They would hope to overtake Yusuf and Effiong in the second stanza.

Some players were ever present in their teams. There are 11 players that started every game for their teams in the first stanza – Seth Mayi (AKW), Christian Ekong (DAK), Idris Abubakar (ADA), Ekene Awazie (IFE), Abel James (IFE), Pascal Eze (HEA), Richard Christopher (JIG), Rabiu Ali (PIL), Usman Barau (KAT), Franklin Tebo (NAS) and Tony Shimaga (RAN).

Super Eagles & Enyimba’s Anayo Iwuala – over 2000mins of club football played this season.

Enyimba’s Anayo Iwuala is the only NPFL player that has played over 2000 mins of club football this season (in all competitions). With 2126 mins played, the Super Eagles winger has featured in 26 matches for the Peoples Elephant. In the league, he made 15/17 appearances – missing out of two matches due to the national team assignment. Only Cyril Olisema featured in every league game for Enyimba FC – 17/17.

There are many other stats available from the first stanza. Be sure to reach out to us if you need any specifics.

Thanks to contributions and collations from Samuel Areo, Seyi Prince, Endurance Ogbemudia, Afis Jinadu, Ayoola Adeleke, Bayo Adegboyega, Usman Ademola and Divine Tonkeye.

Cheers,

Chibuzor Amos

For Opta Nigeria (@OptaNGR)