The 2023 NPFL Super 6 championship playoffs will kick off on Saturday, June 3.
With the regular season of the 2023 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) now concluded, attention would turn to the most exciting part of the season: the Super 6 championship playoffs.
At the start of the 2023 season, the Interim Management Company (IMC) had confirmed the league was to run on an abridged format with two groups of 10 teams each, as opposed to the usual 38 league games season.
18:38 - 14.03.2023
As it stands, the duo of Bendel Insurance and Lobi Stars lead both Groups A and B.
These teams were then to vie for the league's championship by first, qualifying from their groups for a super playoff, and then participating in as special round of elite matches.
The 2023 NPFL season, like the 2019 season, hold certain similarities as it was the last time the Nigerian top division had been decided in such format.
Additionally, both seasons also witnessed a January kickoff, with 2019's, running for 22 match weeks, as it had 24 teams as compared to 20 this year.
17:28 - 22.05.2023
The 2023 season will see Bendel Insurance, Remo Stars, Enyimba, defending champions Rivers United, Lobi Stars and Sunshine Stars now proceed to a Super 6 playoff.
Prior to 2019, a super playoff had been used to decide the NPFL in both the 2007 and 2006 seasons, although on both occasions, only four (4) teams - two from each groups, had proceeded to the playoffs.
What teams had qualified for the Super 6 playoff in 2019?
Qualified from Group A
- Rangers (1st)
- Lobi Stars (2nd)
- Enyimba (3rd)
Qualified from Group B
- Akwa United
- Kano Pillars
- FC IfeanyiUbah
Who won the NPFL in 2019?
After the first stage of the season, all top three teams from both groups had proceeded to the playoff stage to decide the winner.
Played in a round-robin format, Enyimba finished top with 12 points after four wins and a defeat. The title was Enyimba's 8th - the most in Nigeria's history.
Kano Pillars finished in a close second, with Rangers, Akwa United, Lobi Stars and FC IfeanyiUbah coming in as third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Repetitions occur in 2023 NPFL
In terms of close similarities between the 2019 season and the 2023 seasons, Enyimba had on both occasions finished as the third-best team in Group A to make the Super 6 playoff.
Also, the 2019 Super 6 comprised the team that was at the top of the league table at the end of the prior season - Lobi Stars. 2023's playoff will feature defending champions Rivers United, as one of the six.
15:03 - 22.05.2023
As is customary in Nigeria's top division, four teams must drop to the second division at the end of the season, due to having the worst performances.
Perhaps coincidental, but El Kanemi Warriors were one of the relegated teams in both seasons.
One notable repetition would be the 2023 NPFL Super 6 holding in the same city as it did in 2019: Lagos, although in a different stadium. According to the IMC, the 2023 NPFL Super 6 playoff would hold from Saturday, June 3 to Sunday, June 11 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos.
17:06 - 23.05.2023
The midfielder scored the second of four goals in his side's 4-0 over Kwara United in their final game of the 2023 regular season.
16:41 - 21.05.2023
The Benin-based club proceeds to the Super 6 playoff on the back of 8 wins, 10 draws and no defeats in 18 matches.
22:04 - 19.05.2023
Defending Champions of the NPFL Rivers United picked a ticket to the NPFL playoff with a game to spare.