August 28 2021
Nigeria Professional Football League boss, Mallam Shehu Dikko, has declared the just concluded 2020/2021 NPFL season, as the best in history of domestic club football in the country. He stated this at the League body’s headquarters, in a media parley with the FCT Chapter of the Sports Writers Association, in Abuja.
Shehu Dikko who has been the CEO of the League Management Company (LMC) describe the Nigerian league season which ended on August 5, as “innovativingly challenging”, despite the history breaking feats achieved by the clubs.
He alluded to the fact that Nigerians come out top when there back is against the wall.
“When our back is against the wall, Nigerians will come out with something spectacular and fantastic,” Dikko said during the review parley.
The league supremo had a lot of thanksgiving to do during the review media parley.
“I want to congratulate the 20 participating clubs because they are fundamental. They gave everything they could to make sure the season is concluded the way we envisage it. despite the challenges, financial stress and logistics challenges and all.
“There were instances where we played 3, or 4 games within 8 days and the clubs were able to meet up.”
“I must also congratulate the players, they really worked very hard well and cooperated with the clubs,” He said.
He thanked the Referees, the Nigeria football federation and the media as well.
“I must congratulate the match officials because they were absolutely exemplary. They did quite fantastic as they cooperated with the League body and NFF, everybody to make sure the League is done very well.
“I have to congratulate the NFF as well, because they as the invigilators of football in the country also did their bit. With the match officials.”
Recognizing the role of the media in a successful season, he says,
“Also I must congratulate the media as well. Because the media kept working very hard to bring out the positives. Doing what they have to do to make sure season is a success.”
He appreciated he staff but the did not reserve any praise for himself.
“I have congratulate my staff in the office, because without them, nothing can be done. As for us, myself and the COO, we’re only doing our job and we have to lead from the front.”
Giving a breakdown of how the 2020/2021 season which started off on December 27, 2020, Dikko revealed that statistically it was the best season in the history of Nigerian league.
“Technically I can tell you it is the best league that has been played, not just in the NPFL but since we started playing professional football in the Nigeria. I’ll give you the statistics.
“Commercially it’s the most challenging but also the most innovative. Because we came with some innovations that people never thought was possible. Though very very challenging because the finances did not come the way we expected it to come.”
“Organizationally it was really challenging, because of covid-19 and financial stress but everyone came together and we delivered,” he said.
Dikko revealed the last season had the highest number of goals scored and away wins recorded in history.
“We had 380 matches throughout the season and all match were played and completed. 288 matches was won and lost. 92 matches were drawn.”
Goals scored , “ 791 goals was scored. Which gives an average of 2.8 goals per match. It’s the highest statistics we’ve ever in the league as far as goal per match. Very few matches were drawn throughout the season. Almost every match had a goal , the average was 2.8 per match. We had 342 home wins and 36 away victory. The highest away win before then was 34 which was in the 2019 season before then it was 32 in 2014/2015 there about. So at least we’ve moved forward,” Shehu Dikko revealed.
Dikko revealed that last season was the first time in history in which all 20 competing teams had won points away from home with the highest being 3rd placed Enyimba Int’l.
“We had 92 drawn matches which is also the highest ever. Before then it was 78. To show you that the match officials did very well, the total number of penalties awarded in the 380 matches was just 81. It is quite lower than what we had in previous season. Previously we had over 100. “
“And if you look at the league, all the 20 teams lost points at home and gained points away. Which shows that the officiating was much better than what it used to be. It can still be better. A particular team got as much as 23 points away which is Enyimba Intl. that’s also a record. Unfortunately Enyimba also got bad record as as well when it comes to disciplinary records.”
“Shockingly and surprisingly FC Ifeanyi Ubah were the most disciplined team in the season. The got the least yellow cards and red cards. Enyimba with the best away record for the season ended up having the worst disciplinary recon the season. They 84 yellow cards and 6 red cards. Which is also a record as well. “
Eventual champions Akwa United also statistically proved to be the best.
“It give an Idea of how competitive the season is. Akwa United that won the the league had the highest clean sheet. Least goals scored, most wins and went 19 matches unbeaten at some point. Which is quite extraordinarily. Even the points they had in the season is the highest ever in the league.”
The league chairman also harped on the fact that the league body produced the TV matches by itself for the first time in its history and the Nigerian league was watched all across the world through NPFL TV.
He however revealed that the league is set to review the rule books especially the C5 which caused trouble towards the end of the season.
No date has been fixed for the 2021/2022 league kickoff yet, but he says the club representative will meet soon to decide on that