The Nigerian Professional Football League: Is It Worth Watching?‍

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The Nigerian top-flight league has seen a lot of changes in the past few seasons. New clubs have come up and existing ones have made a conscious effort to stay competitive. The standard of play, however, is still far from what we are used to seeing in other leagues around the world. The structure of the league is also rather different from what we have become accustomed to. This article takes an unbiased look at whether or not the NPFL (or NPL as it’s more commonly known) is worth watching for neutral football fans — without delving into individual club analysis. Let’s get started…

Is The Nigerian Professional Football League Worth Watching?

First and foremost, it should be noted that it is impossible to watch the Nigerian football league live online. If you’re outside Nigeria, you’ll have to follow the action via highlights, or read match reports. The short answer to this question is yes. Especially if you are a neutral football fan who likes to follow the top-flight leagues of multiple countries. The Nigerian football league is worth watching for several reasons, which we will go over below. The Nigerian Professional Football League is the top-flight league of Nigerian football. The league is a 12-team league played from February to October. The league is governed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The league has two stages: the season and the playoffs.

The Structure of the Nigerian Professional Football League

The Nigerian Professional Football League is a two-phase league. The two phases are the season and the playoffs. The season runs for about four months. It is during this phase that each club plays each other twice at a neutral venue. The top six teams at the end of the season qualify for the playoffs. The playoff phase lasts for two months. It is during this phase that the teams play each other to determine the champion. The winner of the Nigerian Professional Football League earns the right to represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League. The second-placed team earns the right to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup. The Nigerian Football Federation has implemented the league licensing system. This system ensures that each club meets certain standards. The standards cover the infrastructure of the club, the financial stability of the club, and the technical ability of the club.

Promotion and Relegation in the NPFL

Promotion and relegation are not part of the Nigerian Professional Football League. The reason for this is that the league is structured to have an even number of teams. The league’s structure is such that each club plays each other twice during the season — once at home and once away. The league has 12 clubs — 10 from the country and 2 from the diaspora. The 10 clubs from the country are based in the following cities: Abuja, Warri, Port Harcourt, Kano, Akure, Ibadan, Katsina, Lagos, and Ijebu-Ode. The 2 clubs from the diaspora are based in London and Toronto. In theory, promotion/relegation would lead to clubs either being over-represented or under-represented.

The “standard” of play in the NPFL

The standard of football in the Nigerian Professional Football League is far lower than what we are used to seeing in other top leagues across the world. The average goals per game rate for the 2018/19 NPFL season was 2.61. Granted this is an average across all clubs, but it still shows the lack of quality in football in the Nigerian top-flight. The NPFL has seen a lot of changes in terms of clubs in the past few seasons. The Nigerian top-flight now has clubs from the north, south, and west of the country. This is a clear attempt to make the league more inclusive. This is not to say that the standard of play across the league has seen any significant change.

New clubs in the NPFL

The NPFL has seen a lot of new clubs enter the league in the last few seasons. The decision to allow new clubs has seen the league increase from 10 to 12 teams. The new clubs have come from the north and the south of the country. This might be an attempt to make the league more inclusive of the rest of the country. Two new clubs from the north of the country joined the league in the 2018/19 season. These teams are Katsina United and Katsina City. The two southern clubs that joined the league during the same season were Heartland and Gombe United. Katsina United and Katsina City were relegated from the Premier League in the 2018 season. On the other hand, Heartland and Gombe United won promotion from the lower divisions.

Conclusion

The Nigerian Professional Football League is the top-flight league of Nigerian football. The league is a 12-team league played from February to October. The league is governed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The league has two phases: the season and the playoffs. The winner of the Nigerian Professional Football League earns the right to represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League. The second-placed team earns the right to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup. The Nigerian Professional Football League has seen a lot of changes in the past few seasons. The league now has new clubs from the north, south, and west of the country. The standard of play in the Nigerian top-flight is far lower than what we are used to seeing in other leagues around the world.

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