The results of Nigeria Premier League (NPL) week 37 ties played across the country at the midweek has shown from the table standing that Rangers of Enugu hopes of grabbing the league shield is in limbo.
This is against the backdrop of the Enugu side’s poor away performance against Lobi Stars of Makurdi losing gallantly by 0-3 in Katsina Ala, Benue State falling back to third position with 61 points as the latter has moved to the second position with 63 points on the table.
Prior to the week 37 fixtures all odds were in favour of the Flying Antelopes who parade a very solid squad comprising enterprising players most of them in Keshi’s present Eagles as they had better goals advantage on the table with very huge supports from their state government.
Sadly, week 37 recorded shocking results as their title rivals as formerly second position Kano Pillars now first with 63 points defeated Akwa United 1-0 in Uyo Township Stadium, a result which has now changed the table for football analysts working out a new arithemetic on who wins the league.
The Coal City club however have maintained some cool as the Assistant Coach of the team, Monday Odigie has said that, “fans should wait for the final whistle, as it is not over until it is over.”
Again, a glance at the table also shows hopes are not totally lost for Rangers to kiss their first NPL trophy (see table).
This is against the impression of week 38 pairings that are too close to call, particularly for their rivals (Lobi and Pillars) who all have crucial away engagements.
Lobi in week 38 will honour a date with Kaduna United who losing the match will be automatically relegated to the lower league. And league followers are asking if Kaduna will go on relegation for Lobi to win the League?
Pillars have invitation to dine with Sunshine Stars in Akure Township Stadium and league followers are also asking too if Sunshine will bow to Pillars before their vociferous fans at home as their losing the match will mean victory for Pillars picking their second NPL trophy.
Lobi however, made their surprise entrant into the league title race via their week 36 away 2-0 drubbing of Dolphins of Port Harcourt at the Liberation Stadium.
Invariably, Rangers who will host Sharks in their final match at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu must win hugely with goals to enable them contest the first and second position favourably and be in the CAF Champions league campaign next year should Lobi and Pillars fall in their away matches.
The week 38 fixtures will be played simultaneously across the country next weekend and Nigerians will be watching to see which way the pendulum will swing and how the matches will be organized without any suspicion.