By Ekpor Temple
Sunshine Star midfield maestro, Adebayor Waheed Ajawa, has advised the League Management Company, LMC to formulate new strategies on how to recommence football activities in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
In an exclusive interview with NigerianFootballer.com, the former MFM attacker said the integrity of the league will be jeopardized if the season ends in an unlikely manner.
He, therefore, called on the LMC to think of viable options that will aid the conclusion of the 2019/2020 season just like the Premier League’s Project Restart and the measures applied in the Bundesliga.
“I don’t think the best way is to end the League. We should have other options on our table. Some other leagues have resumed and are playing behind closed doors.
“So, I think the improvement of our league will be enhanced if it ends properly,”
Before the League Management Company (LMC), the organizers of the NPFL, announced the suspension of the Nigerian top-flight on March 18, Sunshine Stars were 9th on the log with 34 points after week 25 matches across the country.
The Biggest Contenders
With 13 matches remaining to be played, NPFL teams like Plateau United, Rivers United, Lobi Stars, Enyimba, Akwa-United, Kano Pillars, Enugu Rangers and Dakada FC are hopeful of achieving domestic glory and continental tickets, but their fates are hanging in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Plateau United remains the team to beat in the race for the title amid calls from some quarters for the cancellation of the league because of the global health crisis.
Abdu Maikaba’s Plateau United hold a four-point lead on the 20-team table with 49 points from 25 games.
Close Rivals like Rivers United and Lobi Stars trails the leaders with 4 and 6 points respectively.
Enyimba FC have so far amassed 36 points from 20 games – 13 adrift of Plateau despite having five matches in hand due to continental engagements.
For Seven-time champions, Enugu Rangers, they are strongly in the race for the league crown and a continental spot after their awful performance in the recent CAF Confederation Cup campaign. They are currently seated sixth on the log with 37 points from 24 matches and they remain unbeaten in their last five matches before the break.
Meanwhile, Akwa United, Kano Pillars, Dakada FC, Sunshine Stars cannot be ruled out of contention for continental places.
What lies ahead?
In Africa, Cameroon has become the latest African country to void its season.
Also, Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, and Niger have already cancelled the rest of their league seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Europe French Ligue 1, and The Jupiler Pro League, the top tier of Belgian football have decided to end its 2019-20 season early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the increasing cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, pegged at 6677 with 200 deaths on the 21st of May, it is dicey to predict how the season will end considering the measures the NFF/LMC will put in place in order to convince the government authorities to permit the resumption of the season.
However, Adebayo insisted that the worst decision will be to hand over the league to Plateau United as such action will place the league into legal dispute and won’t go down well with clubs who have hopes of securing maximum point with their outstanding games.
“It will be bad to hand over the League to any team now as the best is to create ideas on how to restart games.
“Some teams in the League have outstanding matches and are hopeful of winning those games in other to finish well or even get a continental ticket.
“So, I think the best will be for the LMC to let avoid taking any action that will bring the League to disrepute. He told NigerianFootballer.com.
Before sealing a deal to play for the Owena waves, Adebayor Waheed Ajawa has played for Kwara United, ABS of Ilorin, MFM of Lagos and was later loaned to Rivers united.