Six Games that Turned Enyimba into NPFL Champions

Six Games that Turned Enyimba into NPFL Champions
Credit: @NigeriaPL

Enyimba FC played a total of 23 matches in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2022/2023 season. 18 matches in the abridged regular season, and 5 more matches in the championship round.

For one, all the matches Enyimba won and those that ended in stalemates were all important. However, there are matches that turned Enyimba's season around. As you go through them, you'll quite agree with us.

6. The 4 Away Wins Enyimba Recorded

We'll start by mentioning that to pick up an away win in the NPFL is a very difficult task; still Enyimba managed to pick up 4 away wins in the regular season, the most amongst the 20 teams in the league. Here are the games:

  • Nasarawa United 1-2 Enyimba – 14-01-2023
  • Gombe United 1-2 Enyimba – 11-02-2023
  • Kwara United 1-2 Enyimba – 16-04-2023
  • El-Kanemi Warriors 0-1 Enyimba – 30-04-2023

These 4 away matches were part of the matches that turned Enyimba's season around. Picking maximum points in these matches kept Enyimba in the running for a place in the playoffs.

5. Enyimba FC 1-1 Remo Stars – 23-04-2023

In what is regarded as their most dramatic and luckiest result of the season, the NPFL Champions were on course to miss out on the Super Six playoffs.

Enyimba welcomed Remo Stars in their week 15 fixture of the regular season. Philip Odubia gave the visitors the lead in the 43rd minute and a defeat was imminent. With 3 games left, a defeat in this fixture would have seen them jeopardize their chances for a playoff spot.

When it looked almost over for Enyimba, Mbaoma Chijioke came to the rescue with a 90+7 minute equalizer to keep the Elephants in contention for the playoff. Another match that turned Enyimba's season around.

SEE ALSO | Best Forwards of the NPFL 2022-2023 Season

4. Enyimba FC 5-0 Gombe United – 07-05-2023

Enyimba continued their battle for Super Six qualification in a must win match as they welcomed Gombe United in Matchday 17.

The Abia State club were in imperious form on the day, thrashing the visitors in a 5-star performance to bring themselves within touching distance of the Super Six round, and a healthy goal difference over the chasing pack. Golden Boot winner Chukwuemeka Obioma bagged a hattrick in the fixture, while Sadiq Abubakar and Ikenna Cooper were also on the scoresheet.

3. Shooting Stars 0-0 Enyimba – 21-05-2023

In the last match of the regular season, Enyimba squared off with Shooting Stars away from home. A defeat in this game would have knocked Finidi George's side out of the playoffs; but they showed grit and determination to earn a draw away at Ibadan, to finish Group A in 3rd, equal on points with Akwa United but with superior goals.

2. Sunshine Stars 0-3 Enyimba – 09-06-2023

In Matchday 4 of the Championship playoffs, Enyimba locked horns with Sunshine Stars in a must-win match for Finidi and his men. After seeing Rivers United and Remo Stars pick up all 3 points in their game, the Elephants needed to win to reclaim top spot. It was a key match that turned Enyimba's season around.

Enyimba played their best game of the playoffs, clinically dispatching Sunshine Stars 3-0. Mbaoma Chijioke who started the game at the expense of the injured Obioma, scored twice in the first 8 minutes of the encounter to send Enyimba to dreamland. Ikenna Cooper added a 3rd goal in the second half to seal the victory and cushion a sizable goal difference lead going into the final match of the playoffs against Rivers United.

1. Enyimba FC 1-1 Rivers United – 11-06-2023

Enyimba and Rivers United clashed in the last kick-off of the Super Six playoffs to decide who wins the title. It was the most important match of the season for both sides, as it was the title-decider. Both teams had started the match on 8 points, with Enyimba needing just a point to win the league. On the other hand, Rivers United needed to win the match to emerge as champions for the second consecutive season. And so, stakes were high for both teams!

After a tight opening to the encounter, former Remo Stars’ player, Ekene Awazie, opened the scoring with the only goal for Enyimba in the 40th minute. Rivers United restored parity through Nyima Nwangwa in the second half. Both teams sought for more goals but neither side could score. It ended 1-1, a result that favoured the People's Elephants, who with their superior goals difference, reigned supreme in the NPFL for the 9th time.

This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.