August, 9 2023.
Sokoto United FC have been confirmed as the first side to retain their status as a Nigeria National League (NNL) side, at the relegation play-offs in Kano and ahead of the upcoming 2023/24 season.
The team from the seat of the caliphate achieved the feat in spectacular fashion, after two victories at the season-ending tournament, being staged at the Sani Abacha Stadium, in Koffar-Mata, Kano.
Coach by Alhassan Mohammed, Sokoto United have garnered six maximum and unassailable points, meaning they are the first team from the Northern Conference to swim to safety.
A five goal thriller on Day-1 saw them defeat FWC Champions of Abuja 3-2 and that was followed by a hard fought 2-1 victory over ABS of Ilorin.
Next for Sokoto United is a must win duel for Adamawa United of Yola, today at the Kano Pillars Stadium, in Sabon Gari, as the last group matches are to be played simultaneously to help preserve the integrity of the competition.
The other group game in the Northern Conference will see ABS FC of Ilorin, battling FWC Champions of Abuja at the Sani Abacha Stadium, in Koffar-Mata.
Aside Sokoto United who has punched their tickets to remain in NNL with one match to spare, Adamawa United are on two points, ABS FC has 1 point and FWC Champions are on 1 point and all three still have chances of clinching the second slot, to stay put in the nation's second tier league.
The identity of the teams to stay in the NNL or drop to the 3rd tier Nation-Wide League One (NLO) will be clearer after the last games on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
Ikorodu City, Henserd FC of Yenagoa, Smart City and Edel FC of Oba in Anambra State, are all with chances of being either the two sides to remain in the NNL or the pair that would recline to the lower division, www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
Each of the teams have so far won a game, and lost once. But Ikorodu United of Lagos lead the Southern Conference log on a superior goals difference of +2. They are up against Edel FC whose minus 2 goals difference, means they must win today, at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Kick-off for that one is 3:30 pm, while Smart City who takes the burden of a minus 1 goal difference to their final showdown against Henserd FC who are 2nd on the log on 3 points and +1 and should be home and dry, with a point from the encounter scheduled to kick-off at the same time, at the Kano Pillars Stadium, in Sabon- Gari.
Eight sides are taking part in the relegation play-offs, which was initially threatened by the outbreak of diphtheria in Kano, but the management of the NNL moved swiftly to douse the feats expressed by virtually all the clubs, and the stage is now set to know the identities of the four clubs that will continue in the NNL next season, and the four to be relegated to the NLO.