As the season progresses, we’re beginning to learn more and more about each team – mainly who their key players will be this season, where on the table they’ll be battling, etc. That said, two matches isn’t really enough to draw any conclusions, and there are still plenty of teams that seem just as likely to be fighting in the relegation battle as they are to be fighting for a continental spot if we’re looking purely at early-season results.
With plenty of action in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this weekend, here are seven things we learned.
7. Ishaq inspires Rivers United
An in-form Rafiu Ishaq makes Rivers United tick. His double on Sunday, came in a 3-0 dismantling of Katsina United. However, a cloud hangs over his future in Port Harcourt, with a winter move likely.
6. Okpe is poacher supreme
Lanky striker Andy Okpe continued his rollercoaster form for Remo Stars against Heartland. He reigned supreme.
5. Can Remo Stars dream?
There’s always that team or two that starts out the the season in flying form.
This time around, it is Remo Stars. They made a statement by beating MFM FC 2-0 on the opening weekend before annihilating Heartland 3-0. Can the Sky Blue Stars dream?
The NPFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. It’ll be interesting to see where they fall in the table come week 38.
4. Akwa United can still be title contenders?
After failing to win the Invitational Tournament in Abuja, Akwa United criticized for their inability to score.
The 3-0 win against Pillars last weekend silenced those critics, and the 1-1 draw against Shooting Stars was impressive.
Defending the NPFL title could be very difficult for any team but the Uyo based side have quality.
But with that said, Akwa United’s title credentials are just as valid as the likes of Enyimba, Rivers United and Kwara United.
At the moment, the Promise Keepers have a reliable backline.
They look like a real force at the moment, but will they be up to the test of Lobi Stars and Nasarawa United? Their title chances depend on it.
3. Ibadan fans really showed the hunger for top flight action
Fans at the ancient City of Ibadan filled up the Adamasingba Stadium to capacity when Shooting Stars faced Akwa United. They really showed their thirst for NPFL action following their darling team’s relegation in 2017.
It was another difficult weekend for MFM FC and Katsina United
Like the opening weekend, MFM and Katsina United were flattened once again. The two sides lost to Dakkada and Rivers United respectively. They will be desperate to get something from their next matches.
2. Shooting Stars fans will need to be patient
Stars showed great desire to come from a goal down and draw 1-1 against Akwa United.
The likes of Wasiu Alalade, Ayo Adejubu, Akilu Muhammed and Ebenezer Odeyemi were impressive against highly fancied Promise Keepers.
Edith Agoye has built a solid foundation and fans must trust the process.
1. Enyimba and Remo Stars have set the early pace
Two clubs have started the season with maximum points from two matches. Remo Stars followed up an impressive opening day win at MFM FC with a 3-0 thrashing of hapless Heartland. Stars are well-equipped this season.
Most NPFL watchers (me included) have backed Enyimba to be serious challengers. Finidi George’s side were effective in brushing aside Abia Warriors on the opening weekend, and followed up with a scrappy, but just about deserved, win at Rangers on Sunday.