The Nigeria Professional Football League is the highest level of professional football in the country and one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year. Every season, twenty teams from all over the country compete for the title which will be worth a whopping N100 million starting from the 2022/23 edition.
The new season is expected to kick off on the 8th of January 2023, six months after the 2021/2022 season ended. The 2021/2022 edition saw Port Harcourt-based Rivers United win their first ever NPFL title with four games to spare and a record-breaking 77 points, the previous record was 73 points.
As a football fan in Nigeria or across the African continent, there is a chance to place bets and win money on the league matches. For instance, if you follow the league from South Africa, you can sign up with one of the best betting sites in south Africa, place your bets and win huge money when the results go your way.
But if there’s one thing the NPFL has shown us over the years, it would be its unpredictability. In the last seven league editions, there have been seven different winners. With the new season barely two weeks away, here’s our prediction on the five teams that are more likely to lift the 52nd title.
What to Know Ahead of the 2022/2023 NPFL Season
The NPFL will take on a new format starting from the 2022/2023 season. In the previous editions, the 20 teams played against each other twice every season, home and away and the team with the highest points were crowned champions. Now, the league has been divided into two groups of 10 teams. The top three teams in each group will face off at the end of the season in a super six play-off that’ll determine the league champions.
The first time this format was used was in the 2018/19 season and it was due to the unusual way the 2017 season ended. 24 teams competed in groups of 12 teams with Enyimba FC emerging champions after winning the playoffs. This year, only 20 teams will participate, Group A teams include:
- Kwara United
- Nasarawa United
- Gombe United
- Plateau United
- Remo Stars
- Shooting Stars
- Akwa United
- Enyimba FC
- Bendel Insurance
- El Kanemi Warriors.
Group B teams include:
- Rivers United
- Bayelsa United
- Niger Tornadoes
- Lobi Stars
- Abia Warriors
- Wikki Tourists
- Doma United
- Sunshine Stars
- Rangers International
- Dakkada F.C
5 Teams Likely To Win The 2022/2023 NPFL League Title
Here are the teams that’ll likely be crowned champions in the 2022/2023 NFL season.
1. Rivers United
Who better to top our list than the current champions? The Stanley Eguma led team put up an impressive campaign last season that saw them record the highest ever point count in an NPFL season. They also became the first team to win the league with four games to spare and finished ten points ahead of Plateau United in second.
The Pride of Rivers will start the new campaign in a home tie against Lobi Stars on the 8th of January. Lobi Stars narrowly escaped relegation last season and Stanley Eguma’s team will be looking to take all 3 points at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium. Rivers United ace and current Golden Boot holder Chijoke Akuneto will also be looking to extend his highly impressive goal scoring form.
2. Remo Stars
Ikenne-based Remo Stars started the 2021/2022 campaign in flying colors. Despite being newly promoted, they managed to maintain an unbeaten run in their first 11 games, winning six. This impressive early form saw them maintain a top three position for most of the season and earned them a spot in the 2023 CAF Confederation Cup.
This season will mark the first time Remo Stars will be playing in a continental competition. Based on their performance last year, especially their solid defensive records, Remo Stars will definitely be challenging for the title in 2023.
3. Plateau United
In the last five years, Plateau United have become a strong force in the NPFL. They last won the title in 2017 and finished second in the just completed season. They go into the new year with in-form and experienced players like J. Akila and Zulkifilu Rabiu who terrorized the league in the previous season. The Jos-based team will be looking to bring the title back to the New Jos Stadium and are one of the teams to watch out for.
4. Enyimba FC
Enyimba FC are undoubtedly the greatest club in the Nigerian Professional Football League. With 8 NPFL titles, 4 Nigeria FA Cups, and 2 CAF Champions League to their name, they are one of the most successful football clubs in Africa.
Their last title came in the 2019/20 edition after a Super-Six playoff win in Lagos. They have also finished in top five positions in five of the last six campaigns and have qualified for continental tournaments in three of them. Like always, Enyimba FC is a team to watch out for. They have the quality, experience, and fan backing and are always favorites.
5. Akwa United
Emmanuel Ekpo’s goal against the El Kanemi Warriors in the 2020/2021 NPFL edition is one Akwa United fans will never forget. It gave them their first ever NPFL title and made them the NPFL force they are today. Despite failing to recreate their 2021 success last season, the Promise Keepers have shown on several occasions that they are capable of springing up surprises. If you’re looking to place bets on the best betting sites in SA, you should definitely consider them.
The Bottom Line
The 2022/2023 NPFL season will look to build on the success of the previous season. It’ll feature a new format but the same hype, grit, and surprise packages! Here, we looked at five teams that are likely to win the upcoming tournament. They include current champions Rivers United, 8 time champions Enyimba FC, Remo Stars, Plateau United, and Akwa United.