Though I may not be able to touch on all, I’ve selected yet a few number of NPFL clubs on which I can shine my spotlight as we head into the new season. After reviewing Rangers and Shooting Stars <a href=”https://forthegoals.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-review-of-the-npfl-teams-ahead-of-the-new-season/”>here</a>, let’s take a look at two other clubs.
ENYIMBA FOOTBALL CLUB
Nickname: The People’s Elephant
Home Ground: Enyimba International Stadium , Aba, Abia, Nigeria.
Calabar (Temporary Home ground)
Capacity : 16000
Location : Aba, Nigeria
Head Coach : Gbenga Ogunbote
Chairman : Felix Anyansi-Agwu
The Man: Mfon Udoh
Despite becoming the highest goal scorer in the 2016 CAF Champions League, he was not really favoured by former coach, Paul Aigbogun but Mfon Udoh is one man Gbenga Ogunbote will rest his hopes on to deliver plenty of goals that will win maximum points for the people’s Elephant this season.
Enyimba Football Club
Located in one of the biggest commercial cities in Nigeria, the People’s Elephant ; Enyimba of Aba is one of the biggest club sides in alongside Al Ahly of Egypt and Asec Memosa of Cote d’ivoire . The two-time CAF Champions League winner is one of the most successful side in Nigerian club football history.
However, the 2015/2016 season under former Warri Wolves gaffer ; Paul Aigbogun was indeed a torrid and abysmal outing for the former League Champions. The inconsistent or lack of permanent home ground contributed to some of the misfortunes and woes of Enyimba last season, shuffling between the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium in Port Harcourt for CAF Champions League games, The Yakubu Gowon Stadium and the Abia Warriors stadium for NPFL games is sure no way to get your fans massive support.
In addition, finishing 10th on the log last season and their woeful performance at the Caf Champions league was unacceptable for the management of the club.
The departure of inspirational captain, Chinedu Udoji, Chinedu might have left some void in the strength of the team but the arrival of Stanley Digmba from Sunshine Stars and experienced Ghanian goalie Fatau Dauda, the People’s Elephant (now known as Enyimba of Calabar) can fancy their chances of at least returning to the continent under new boss; Gbenga Ogunbote who helped Shooting Stars survive relegation last season. Whether Enyimba will reclaim the league from current champions; Rangers of Enugu or correct last season’s misfortunes remains to be seen.
Nickname : The Bauchi Elephants
Founded : 1992
Homeground : Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, Nigeria.
Chairman : Alhaji Isa Musa Matori
Head Coach : Baba Ganuru
2015/2016 Position : 3rd
The Man : Mubarak Umar Mohammed will look to step into the spotlight after the departure of Godwin Obadje to Club Africain of Tunisia
Prediction : 3rd
After making a return to Nigerian topflight football in 2014, Wikki Tourist a.k.a the Bauchi Elephants had an impressive run in last season’s Nigerian Professional Football League finishing 3rd on the log behind eventual winners Rangers of Enugu and first runner up; Rivers United.
The Bauchi Elephants narrowly missed out on securing one of two Caf Champions League Tickets but found solace in securing a ticket to play in the Caf confederation cup . Wikki Tourist had a total of 57 points with an impressive +17 goal difference ,the highest in the league and their rock solid defense allowed the fewest goals last season allowing only 28 goals.
A total of 45 goals was scored by the Bauchi based outfit, 18 of which were scored by the league’s highest goal scorer; Godwin Obadje who scored against 11 different oppositions alongside Rangers Egbuchulam; the highest in the 2015/2016 campaign.
With the departure of inspirational coach, Abdu Maikaba to Akwa United and top striker, Godwin Obadje to Club Africain of Tunisia, Wikki Tourist faces a tough challenge of repeating their last season exploits.
New coach ,the experienced former Kano Pillars and Nassarawa United coach; Baba Ganaru will have to restore confidence to the fans as Wikki Tourist begin their league campaign against Kabiru Dogo’s Nassarawa United on the 15th of January at the Sir Tafawa Balewa Stadium and few weeks later they will take on RSLAF of Sierra Leone in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round.