NPFL19: Final day permutations and forecast

NPFL19: Final day permutations and forecast

The regular season of the 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) comes to an end on Sunday with many matters of relegation and playoff yet undecided. As usual, the permutations and forecast ahead of the final day are now intense among teams and followers alike.

Only three teams have qualified for the season ending Super Six playoff – Rangers in Group A, Akwa United and Kano Pillars in Group B – while only three teams have been confirmed relegated out of a possible eight – Remo Stars and Niger Tornadoes in Group A, Yobe Desert Stars in Group B.

The mathematical theorem required for this season’s final day permutations has to be in the gel of a complex algorithm as quite a lot of teams have their souls entangled with the demon of the dreaded drop. In fact, only the top four teams in both Groups A and B can breathe properly going into the final round of matches.

The matches

There are twelve games (six in each group) slated for Sunday simultaneously in twelve different match venues. All top four teams in Group A will be on the road and anyone (outside Rangers) that secures a good result will most likely guarantee themselves of a spot in the playoff.

Four out of the bottom five teams in Group B will be at home and aside already relegated Yobe Stars, a good result can mean another year in top flight of Nigerian football for the home teams.

Group A

(8) Wikki Tourists vs Rangers International (1)
(6) Rivers United vs Bendel Insurance (5)
(12) Remo Stars vs Lobi Stars (2)
(11) Niger Tornadoes vs Kwara United (10)
(7) Katsina United vs Enyimba (3)
(9) Sunshine Stars vs MFM FC (4)

Group B

(12) Yobe Desert Stars vs Nasarawa United (4)
(11) Go Round FC vs Gombe United (10)
(6) Delta Force vs Plateau United (7)
(8) Abia Warriors vs Kano Pillars (2)
(3) FC Ifeanyiubah vs Akwa United (1)
(9) Heartland FC vs El-Kanemi Warriors (5)

Playoff spots trumped by relegation fears

Playoff related fixtures:

Group A

(12) Remo Stars vs Lobi Stars (2)
(7) Katsina United vs Enyimba (3)
(9) Sunshine Stars vs MFM FC (4)

Group B

(3) FC Ifeanyiubah vs Akwa United (1)
(9) Heartland FC vs El-Kanemi Warriors (5)
(12) Yobe Desert Stars vs Nasarawa United (4)

Although there are only three spots confirmed for the Super Six playoff as earlier noted, I do not expect to see a change in the qualifiers as it is currently constituted in the top 3 positions on the tables.

In Group A, MFM FC need a win against relegation haunted Sunshine Stars away from home to break back into the top three but the best I can see them get there is a draw. That will surely not be sufficient for them.

In Group B, FC Ifeanyiubah need just a point at home, against already qualified Akwa United and I think they will get it. If something extraordinary like a home loss happens to them, then Nasarawa United who travel to already relegated Yobe Desert Stars will replace them in the playoff with a win in Damaturu.

El-Kanemi Warriors although placed fifth on the log really have relegation issues to think of instead of a playoff spot to jostle for when they travel to Okigwe to face Heartlland.

Relegation permutations

It is quite ironic that both Bendel Insurance and El-Kanemi Warriors, currently placed fifth in Groups A and B are my favourites to relegate, based on my permutation and forecast. Here is a break down of the calculations.

Group A

Relegation based fixtures

(8) Wikki Tourists vs Rangers International (1)
(6) Rivers United vs Bendel Insurance (5)
(12) Remo Stars vs Lobi Stars (2)
(11) Niger Tornadoes vs Kwara United (10)
(7) Katsina United vs Enyimba (3)
(9) Sunshine Stars vs MFM FC (4)

Funny right? Yes, all the fixtures have bearings on who stays up and who goes down.

– I believe Kwara United are gone, because even a win in Minna will not be enough for them due to their negative goals difference. So, United will assuredly join their opponents on Sunday, Niger Tornadoes and bottom placed Remo Stars in the Nigeria National League (NNL) next term.

Straightforward cases

– If any of Wikki Tourists, Katsina United and Rivers United win their home games, they will escape relegation.

Forecast:

Both Wikki Tourists and Katsina United will win at home against Rangers and Enyimba respectively and they will stay up once again.

The deciders (points in parentheses)
(28) Rivers United vs Bendel Insurance (28)
(26) Sunshine Stars vs MFM FC (32)

– Should Sunshine Stars beat MFM even by a lone goal, they will most definitely escape relegation because they will move to 29 points. The last relegation spot will then be decided between Rivers United and Insurance.

– If the game between Rivers United and Insurance ends in a draw, then Rivers United will relegate while Insurance stays up but if Rivers United wins, Insurance will return to the NNL. (Remember this permutation is in view of both Wikki Tourists and Katsina United winning their home games. If either of them fail to win at home, then they will take the final spot).

Group B

Relegation based fixtures (points)
(27) Go Round FC vs Gombe United (27)
(30) Delta Force vs Plateau United (29)
(28) Abia Warriors vs Kano Pillars (37)
(28) Heartland FC vs El-Kanemi Warriors (30)

Straightforward cases

– If Abia Warriors and Heartland FC win their home games against already qualified Kano Pillars and troubled El-Kanemi Warriors respectively, both teams will escape relegation.

If that happens, then the four relegated teams will be decided thus:

The deciders

(27) Go Round FC vs Gombe United (27)
(30) Delta Force vs Plateau United (29)
(28) Heartland FC vs El-Kanemi Warriors (30)

– Go Round FC’s negative goals difference is a condemning situation for them and might see them go down, even with a win against Gombe United in Omoku. Mind you, Gombe also need a win to have hopes of escaping so a high score margin is not expected.

– A draw between Delta Force and Plateau United will see both teams escape relegation. A defeat for either side will most definitely relegate them.

– If Heartland beats El-Kanemi in Okigwe, then the Warriors from Borno will relegate provided that Plateau United get a point in Asaba against Delta Force.

Team’s needs for staying up

– El-Kanemi Warriors: They need just a draw at Heartland, defeat might be catastrophic.
– Delta Force: They need just a draw at home to Plateau United, defeat might be suicidal.
– Plateau United: They need a draw away to Delta Force, defeat will be disastrous.
– Abia Warriors: They need a win at home to Pillars, anything less will be calamitous.
– Heartland: They need a win at home to El-Kanemi, anything less will be doom.
– Gombe United: They need a win at Go Round then, they need Abia Warriors to drop points against Pillars and a winner to emerge between Delta Force and Plateau United.
– Go Round: They need at least a 4-0 win over Gombe United. Or perhaps, a 1-0 win will do IF both Abia Warriors and Heartland fail to win their home games at the very least.

The permutations are not for the faint-hearted and we will see how everything pans out on Sunday.

2 Comments

  • Fisayo Dairo

    Reply Fisayo Dairo May 25, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you!

    ALOHA

  • Avatar

    Reply FAPOHUNDA Olfemi John May 25, 2019 at 11:10 am

    This is a fantastic job.
    I think going to Sunday match, one need to bookmark this article.

      • 1

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