Enyimba International Are 2019 NPFL Champions!

Enyimba FC players
Behold the new NPFL kings, Enyimba FC

Enyimba International Football Club of Aba on Wednesday made it a record eighth championship title as they emerged the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League winners.

Enyimba remain Nigeria’s most successful club, having previously won the league titles in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2015.

The People’s Elephant were impressive on the night inside Agege Stadium in Lagos, wrapping up the prestigious league crown with an astounding 3-0 humbling of Akwa United FC of Uyo.

With this victory, the Aba-based Premier league side hauled an unassailable 12 points from five (5) matches to emerge tops of the NPFL Super Six Championship Playoffs.

As the new league champions, Enyimba will now represent Nigeria in next year’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League competition.

The two-time African champions got their victory act on course with goals from Reuben Bala, Stanley Dimgba and Abdulrahman Bashir condemning the Promise Keepers to a nightmarish outing.

It was a classic performance by Enyimba as they effectively ran riot over Akwa United, whose Brazilian coach Rafael Everton was conspicuously missing from the team’s bench.

After netting two goals in the last game against Ifeanyi Ubah, coach Usman Abd’Allah retained Bala upfront with the duo of Stanley Dimgba and Bashir also getting starting roles.

On his part, the Akwa United manager handed Mfon Udoh a starting role, having opted to have the top striker come from the bench in their last two outings. Aniefiok Godspower and Marshal Johnson got starts against the People’s Elephant.

After a rather cautious start, Udoh almost gave the Promise Keepers the lead against his former club, Enyimba but his well-directed header at goal, was saved by keeper Theophilus Afelokhai.

The Aba side responded quickly with a big opportunity as the left-footed free kick by Joseph Osadiaye stung the palms of Akwa goalkeeper Emmanuel Iwu and the follow-up volley by Bashir clipped the crossbar and went over.

Though both teams kept pushing for the crucial opening goal, it was the People’s Elephant that were off the block in the 43rd minute when Bala bundled Osadiaye’s cross home despite the challenge of an Akwa defender.

It was a relieved Enyimba that took the slim lead into the break. The second half saw the Uyo-based team firing on all cylinders in search of an equaliser.

However, against an Enyimba team that had the best defensive record during the regular season, they just did not find a way through.

On the hour mark, Enyimba extended their lead when Dimgba peeled off a ball-watching Akwa defense to head past goalkeeper Iwu from Stanley Okorom’s cross..

Throwing everything upfront to salvage their failing campaign, the Promise Keepers were further punished in the 89th when Bashir picked up a loose ball and smashed it from distance past Iwu to put the icing on the cake for Enyimba.

Given their placement on the Super Six table, Kano Pillars FC and Rangers International of Enugu are expected to join Enyimba to represent Nigeria on the continent next year.

The champions and runners-up are schedule to play in the CAF Champions League, while the third-placed team will feature in the CAF Confederation Cup. – With agency report

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