July, 5 2023.
The identities of all four Nigeria National League (NNL) teams to play in the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) are now all known following the conclusion of the round-robin fixtures of both the Northern and Southern Conferences, on Wednesday.
Expectedly, Heartland FC of Owerri, Katsina United and Kano Pillars who were all relegated to the nation's second tier league at the end of last season, proved their mettle by punching the remaining three promotion tickets on offer.
Sporting Lagos FC had on Monday blazed the trail by taking the very first of the four tickets and in doing so, will be playing in nation's top flight for the very first time.
10-man Kano Pillars who had veteran midfielder Rabiu Ali, lost 0-1 to Katsina United, but still won the northern group ahead of the Chanji Boys, coached by Usman Abd'Allah.
EFCC FC of Abuja needed victory of any margin against DMD FC of Maiduguri to bring back premier league football back to Abuja, but got overwhelmed and were well beaten 4-0 at the Austin Okocha Stadium, in Ogwashiukwu.
Final day action in the Southern, saw a spirited Heartland of Owerri rally from a goal down to beat already qualified Sporting FC, to win the group on 7 points one clear of Sporting.
Hapless FC ONE Rocket of Abat, got traunced again on Wednesday by Stommers SC of Abeokuta, who won 4-0 to finish 3rd in the group, www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
The two group winners, Kano Pillars and Heartland of Owerri will go on to compete for the NNL championship trophy on Friday, July 7th at the Stephen Keshi Memorial Stadium, Asaba.
The four promoted sides will replace the quartet of El-kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri, Nasarawa United of Lafia, Wikki Tourists of Bauchi and Dakkada FC of Uyo, who were relegated from the NPFL at the end of the 2022/23 abridged season.