Friday, March 14, 2014

Key dates in the NPFL

This season's Glo Premier League, otherwise known as the Nigeria Professional Football League [NPFL], will throw up some fascinating match-ups. From the big games to the grudge game and also from the Friday night games to the derbies are all captured for your diary this term.

In the first round of this season, we have identified over 30 matches that will delight you considering the teams and days involved.


There will be seven potential matches in the first round of this season involving six former champions. It is definitely the best of the picks. 

March 16 - Enyimba v Enugu Rangers
March 22 - Enugu Rangers v Kano Pillars
April 28 - Heartland v Enyimba
May 24 - Dolphins v Bayelsa United
June 1 - Kano Pillars v Enyimba
June 8 - Kano Pillars v Dolphins


Ordinarily some pundits and enthusiasts will feel some of the matches branded as grudge games should be big games. One of such games is the renewal of the rivalry between Akwa United and Warri Wolves from their Cup clash last season produced a replay before Wolves won.

Also, there will be an Easter Sunday game between Kano Pillars and Warri Wolves on April 2.

March 13 - Sunshine Stars v Enyimba
March 26 - Warri Wolves v Enyimba
April 2 - Kano Pillars v Warri Wolves
April 6 - Enugu Rangers v Sunshine Stars
April 13 - Enyimba v Akwa United
May 7 - Akwa United v Warri Wolves
May 10 - Sunshine Stars v Heartland
May 18 - Warri Wolves v Heartland
May 21 - Kaduna United v Kano Pillars


One of the legs of the Oriental Derby will be played on Monday. It will be a classic clash between five-time champions, Heartland and six-time winners, Enyimba at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri in late April.

April 28 - Heartland v Enyimba


There will be seven Friday night games in the first round start with the Kaduna United versus FC Taraba match at the Kaduna Township Stadium. One of the biggest Friday night games will be on May 2 when champions Kano Pillars will host Heartland.

March 14 - Kaduna United v FC Taraba
March 21 - Heartland v Sharks
March 28 - Gombe United v Heartland
April 4 - Sharks v Dolphins
April 11 - Kano Pillars v FC Taraba
April 18 - Bayelsa United v Enyimba
May 2 - Kano Pillars v Heartland


Watch out for double-headers from March 29. The first of the double-headers will witness two games in Port Harcourt. The other double-headers in the first round will hold on May 7 and May 28.

March 29 - Sharks v Crown FC
March 29 - Dolphins v Sunshine Stars
May 7 - FC Taraba v Abia Warriors
May 7 - Lobi Stars v Sunshine Stars
May 28 - Lobi Stars v Bayelsa United
May 28 - Gombe United v Warri Wolves


April and May are the derby months in the first round. But the first big derby will be the southeast rivalry between Enyimba and Enugu Rangers in Aba. The Oriental Derby is a titanic way to set the tone for the months of April and May that will witness eight city and regional derbies.

March 16 - Enyimba v Enugu Rangers
April 4 - Sharks v Dolphins
April 28 - Heartland v Enyimba
May 10 - Warri Wolves v Bayelsa United
May 14 - Heartland v Enugu Rangers
May 17 - Dolphins v Akwa United
May 21 - Bayelsa United v Akwa United
May 24 - Dolphins v Bayelsa United
May 25 - Warri Wolves v Sharks


Enugu Rangers and Heartland are the only side yet to be relegated from the premier division. Rangers since founded 44 years ago are still one of the traditional clubs in the Glo Premier League and same goes for Heartland who have kept their status for 38 years.

This sets the tone for the only recognised traditional derby which is known as the real and first Oriental Derby. 

The Oriental Derby actually got its name from the popular musical high-life band, Oriental Brothers, since the Old Imo State adopted 'Orient Stamp' as her nickname in the 1970s and 1980s. The first clash of this derby this season will hold in Owerri on May 14. 

May 14 - Heartland v Enugu Rangers

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