NNL 2022/23: Top Guns, Kano Pillars, Heartland & Katsina Utd Off To Winning Starts
March, 23 2023.
Teams relegated from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) last season, began life in the nation's second tier league, the Nigeria National League, by posting spectacular results, as Matchday 1 in the NNL continued at designated venues across the country on Wednesday.
It was victory songs for three notable Nigeria clubsides; Kano Pillars, Katsina United and Heartland of Owerri as they began campaign for promotion.
Former Champions, Heartland of Owerri and Kano Pillars recorded away wins, while Katsina United laid down the marker, with a resounding 3-0 thrashing of Abuja-based City FC.
Four time NPFL champions, Kano Pillars strolled past Sokoto United 1-0, at the Giginya Memorial Stadium, with Yusuf Abdullahi netting the all important goal in the 52nd min, whilst Heartland won the Oriental derby by edging Abia Comets 1-0.
Pillars Coach, Evans Ogenyi applauding his Sai Masu Gida boys, by saying it was a good way to start their campaign for their swift return to the NPFL.
"Pillars is a historic side with great followership, I am proud of my players, they did so well to ensure we won here today. Our resolve was not to leave Sokoto empty, we got a good fight from them, but prevailed. We are going back to be better prepared for our next game"
Up next for Pillars, on Day 2, at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano is Kebbi United who got the biggest win on Wednesday to take early lead in Group A3 of the Northern Conference, by thrashing Malumfashi FC 3-1.
At the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina, the Changi Boys of Katsina United even without the presence of their Technical Adviser, Usman Abd'Allah who is on assignment with the Super Eagles ahead of the Nations Cup qualifier against Guinea Bissau on Friday, were guided by to resounding 3-0 defeat of City FC of Abuja 3-0 and now leads Group A2 of the Northern Conference.
A brace from Nazifi Yahaya (17th and 57th mins) and a solitary strike from Sanusi Abdul just before the hour mark told the story.
Heartland of Owerri, which is now steered by former international, Christian Obi, piped Abia Comets 1-0 at the Umuahia Township Stadium to set the tone for a possible come back to the NPFL.
Onyekachi Okafor efforts in the 10th minute was all that separate the two sides in group B4 of the Southern conference.
There were more away wins recorded on the opening day of the NNL .
At their slaughter home in Omoku, former Premier League outfit Go-Round FC with veteran coach Ngozi Elechi at the helm, were whipped 3-1 by Vandrezzer FC coached by Ivorian import, Ndiamebela Adama .
New comers Madiba FC disunited Ekiti United at the MJ Arena Waterfront Stadium, in Onikan, Lagos; just as Ijebu United silenced Joy Cometh FC with a 2-1 victory.
Sporting Lagos outsmarted Smart City FC 2-1 in their home. Gateway United shocked Crown FC 1-0 at the Soun Stadium in Ogbomoso; while Military outfit "Almighty" Green Berets had faint bullets at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, as the FWC Champions held them to a thrilling 2-2 draw.
All the results:
Kogi Utd 1-1 Hypebuzz
Mighty Jets 1-0 EFCC Abuja
Katsina Utd 3-0 City FC of Abuja
Green Berets 2-2 FWC Champions
NAF FC, Abuja 1-1 Jigawa Golden Stars.
Zamfara Utd BYE.
Sokoto Utd 0-1 Kano Pillars
Kebbi Utd 3-1 Malumfashi FC.
Police Machine FHQ 0-0 DMD.
Adamawa Utd v Yobe Desert Stars (Match on hold).
FC ONE Rocket 2-1 Warri Wolves
Rovers FC, Calabar 2-1Henserd FC,Yenagoa
Go-Round 1-3 Vandrezzer FC.
JoyComeths FC 1-2 Ijebu Utd
Smart City FC 1-2 Sporting Lagos
Crown 0-1 Gateway Utd.
Abeokuta Stormers Sporting Club -BYE
Ikorodu City 3-1 FC Ebedei
Madiba FC 3-0 Ekiti Utd.
Ibom Youths FC 3-2 Cynosure FC Abakaliki
Abia Comets 0-1 Heartland .
Matchday 1 matches in the NNL will be concluded on Thursday (today)
with Giant Brilars of Enugu taking on Edel FC, Anambra (8am at the UNEC Stadium; while ABS of Ilorin play host to newly crowned FCT Federation Cup winners, Mailantarki Care FC.