ODOGWU IN BOX 18 : NNL, Really Taking The Stage As The Most Important League

ODOGWU IN BOX 18 :  NNL, Really Taking The Stage As The Most Important League
ODOGWU IN BOX 18 : NNL, Really Taking The Stage As The Most Important League


Many are always of the opinion that Box 18 is all about criticisms. That Box 18 hardly sees anything good in our sporting sector. 

Far be it, we know that Box 18 is a very vital area in the football field. When a player enters the Box 18, he becomes an 'endangered species'. If you tackle him, he commits you to cause penalty, you allow him, he wrecks havoc.

 However, on this page, Box 18 had in the past acknowledged those who did well, one way or the other. 

This week, Box 18 will be acknowledging the positive impact the George Aluo led Board made in the NNL, the Most Important League, especially as the regular season ended In a  style last weekend.

In the Northern Conference of the NNL, which goes with Group C and D, Elkanemi Warriors topped Conference C with 34 points, playing 16 matches. They won 10 matches, two of which were at away. They were closely followed by Nasarawa United who finished with 33 points, winning 10 matches, 2 of which were at away and drawing 3 matches. In that Conference, 3  teams were relegated. EFCC FC, came rear with 11 points from 16 matches, ABS followed with 12 points and NAF followed with 15 points with same number of matches.

A further breakdown of the group shows that out of the 72 matches played, 51 were won, 21 drawn. 143 goals were scored which is an average of 2 goals per match. 101 home goals were scored, and 8 penalties. The best attacking team in that group was Wikki Tourists with 31 goals and the best defensive team was Nasarawa United who conceded only 8 goals. EFCC defense was the most porous with 24 goals conceded.

In Conference D of the Northern zone, Sokoto United topped the table  with 23 points out of 12 matches played . They won 7 matches, 1 of which was at away. Sporting Supreme of Abuja came second in the group with 22 points from 12 matches. They won 6 matches, 2 of which were at away. In that group, 2 other Abuja teams went on relegation. City FC took the rear with 10 points out of 12 matches, followed by Jigawa Golden Stars in ascending order with 14 points, same points with Mailantarki Care.

In the Southern Conference, Madiba FC of Lagos came out tops in Group A with 46 points out of 22 matches. They scored 35 goals, conceding 16. They won 14 matches, 4 of which were at away. They were followed by Beyond Limits FA with 40 points from 22 matches. Beyond Limits won 11 matches, 4 of which are from away. They scored 39 goals, conceding 20. In that group, 1472, Ekiti United and Stomers of Abeokuta will return to the NLO. The Conference B saw Ikorodu City coming out tops with 36 points from 20 matches. They scored 29 goals, conceding 14, with 10 wins, 1 of which was an away win. Another Lagos team, International Lagos came as runners up. Inter finished with 35 points from 20 matches, scoring 34 goals, conceding 24. They won  11 matches, 4 of which was at away. In that Conference, Tradesafe FC returned to the NLO league having gathered only 13 points from 20 matches played. They will be joined by Giant Brilliars who had 24 points and FC One Rocket that finished with 25 points.

The breakdown of all conferences showed that the number of away wins was unprecedented. Though, there were complaints of some teams trying to circumvent the rules, especially the one that happened in the match between Jigawa Golden Stars and Sporting Supreme of Abuja, where a goal was scored in a volleyball like, but was counted and the result stands. Though, the referees, player, venue and club were punished, but the result stood. Many had thought that since everything about the match had been canceled, that, the result of the match should have been canceled also, and a replay ordered to serve as deterrent to those who would want to bring the league to disrepute in future. But, there is every likeness that another desperate team will repeat such in future knowing fully well that the results will stand. An antecedent was set in the judgment which seriously affected the image of the League.

Be that as it may be, the NNL 2024 regular season was a full success. The number of away wins were unprecedented. A team went 12 matches unbeaten for the first time, reports of biase officiating were reduced to the barest minimum, and offending referees got their punishments promptly, and the league got more media attention than ever before.

The NNL Board and the Congress should take a critical look at the disparities in the number of teams in the Conferences, which cumulated in the number of matches played. Teams in the Southern Conferences played as much as 22 matches while those in  the Northern Conferences played lesser matches, and they are having the same numbers of teams relegated. Agreed that this is purely based on registered teams from the zones, the Board can take a further look at ways of balancing the number. It is unheard off that teams will play only 12 matches and emerge champions in a group, same with those who went on relegation. A team can be relegation bound  but survive with as much as ten matches. There are various options available to the Board to correct the anomalies.

Despite all these, I think George Aluo and his crew deserves a pat on their back as they prepare for the Super Eight In Enugu.

ODOGWU IN BOX 18 :  NNL, Really Taking The Stage As The Most Important League

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