Current Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table toppers Lobi Stars are set to be declared champions of the 2017/18 league season after the league organisers, League Management Company (LMC) met with the association of the league’s Club owners on Thursday night.
According to multiple sources from the meeting, the league season is set to be ended abruptly with Lobi Stars, who have forty-three points from the twenty-four games played declared league champions and presented to CAF for next season’s Champions League.
Thursday’s meeting was geared towards finding a way to conclude the league and cup season in Nigeria, in time to meet the October 15 deadline of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for countries to complete registration for the 2018/19 continental competitions.
The NPFL went on break shortly before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia with a resumption anticipated from July 18. However, Nigerian football woke to a fresh crisis shortly after the country’s elimination with a court judgement at the centre of a protracted crisis which left the football leagues in the balance for over a month.
An official announcement as regards Thursday’s agreement is being awaited from the league body (LMC) but Lobi Stars’s verified social media accounts have already tacitly revealed the results.
— Lobi Stars FC (@LobiStars) August 30, 2018
In a related development, since the league will be terminating with fourteen matches to play, it was reportedly agreed that none of the twenty teams will be relegated but four more teams will be promoted from the second tier after the conclusion of their own season. It is also being mooted that the twenty-four teams will then play in an abridged league format next season, with the commencement reportedly fixed for November, 2018.
With Nigeria left with just one slot each in the Champions League and Confederation Cup for next season, it is expected that Nigeria’s Cup competition; AITEO Cup will hold within a short period of time in order to terminate on or before October 15.