The 2023–24 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season is only four days away from kick-off, and fans cannot wait for the action to get started.
With the draw for the fixtures already concluded last week, the opening round of matches will take centre-stage on Saturday.
– NPFL clarifies on opening day fixtures.
– Says only Shooting vs Plateau will hold on September 9th.
– The game will be LIVE on NPFL App.
"Remember that last season opening day fixture was the match in Uyo between Akwa United and Bendel Insurance. The other nine… pic.twitter.com/VbvmpdTBS7
— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) September 1, 2023
Shooting Stars and Plateau United get the ball rolling with a meeting at the Lekan Salami Stadium as both sides go in search of a winning start to their respective campaigns.
Ahead of the commencement of the action proper, we take a look at some of the interesting records in NPFL history:
Rangers are the only NPFL team not to have been relegated
Enugu Rangers are one of the major forces to be reckoned with in Nigerian club football, with seven league titles to their name, second only to Enyimba’s all-time record of nine.
Since its inception in 1970, the Flying Antelopes have always competed in the top flight and are the only NPFL side to boast of that record.
However, Rangers came close to suffering relegation for the first time ever during the recently concluded campaign, where they finished just two points clear of Wikki Tourists in the battle for survival.
Having now gone seven years since their last domestic crown, Rangers will be keen to put on a title challenge in the upcoming NPFL season.
Most number of goals in a season – 23
Mfon Udoh was on fire in the 2014 NPFL season, as he netted a whopping 23 times in his 38 matches for Enyimba.
However, his goals were unable to result in league glory, as Kano Pillars would end up as league champions that season.
Udoh’s goalscoring heroics from that campaign are yet to be matched, and the 31-year-old, who currently plies his trade in Bangladesh, will hope it stays that way for a long time.
No team has won consecutive titles since 2014
Since Kano won a third straight title in 2014, the NPFL has produced six different winners in the subsequent nine seasons, with the 2019/20 campaign failing to produce a winner due to an interruption.
Enyimba were crowned champions in 2015, before rivals Enugu Rangers emerged victorious the following season to end a 32-year wait.
Plateau United upset the odds by winning the 2017 NPFL, while Lobi Stars reigned supreme in 2018.
Serial winners Enyimba reclaimed their dominance of Nigerian football in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic saw the NPFL go on an enforced break the following season.
Akwa United and Rivers United were the first two winners after the NPFL resumed in 2021 and 2022, respectively, but Enyimba were once again champions of the land in the most recent NPFLcampaign.
Youngest Player to win top scorer – Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa has had one of the most successful careers of any Nigerian footballer, but his journey to stardom kicked off in the NPFL.
At just 18 years old, Musa scored 18 times for Kano Pillars during the 2010 NPFL season, but his goals could only earn his side a place in the CAF Champions League as Enyimba came away with the league title.
However, Musa’s impressive record in front of goal at such a young age earned him a move to VVV-Venlo, where he started his European adventure.
Kano Pillars currently hold the longest home unbeaten record
Kano Pillars once went 202 games on their home ground without a single loss between 2003 and 2015.
The Sai Masu Gida turned the Sani Abacha Stadium into a real fortress for a 12-year span before finally seeing their record come to an end against Nasarawa United in a 2-1 defeat.
Having only just regained promotion to the NPFL Kano Pillars will need to make their stadium a tough place for visiting teams to come if they are to enjoy a successful return to the top flight.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago