Super 8 Tournament Postponed Yet Again

The uncertainty surrounding the Super 8 Tournament shows no sign of easing up after the tournament was postponed for the umpteenth time from 3 January to 5 January 2019.

The Super 8 – a playoff style tournament to determine the four clubs that will gain promotion from the Nigeria National League (NNL) to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) – was originally slated for 19 December of 2018 in Aba, but following the refusal of five of the eight qualified clubs to participate in the tournament, a new date 3 January 2019 was proposed for the playoffs.

However, in a letter dated 1 December 2019 addressed to the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Football Committee Seyi Akinwunmi, the NNL Chief Operating Officer, Lawrence Katken asked for a shift in date to January 5 2019 in order to help participating clubs finalize their preparations ‘in good time’ for the tournament.

As at the time of filing this report, understands that none of the eight participating teams – Kogi United, Kada City, Bendel Insurance, 3SC, Remo Stars, Gombe United, Real Stars and Delta Force – have arrived in Aba for the tournament with arrival deadline for the clubs being 4 January.

The latest postponement is the latest in a long running standoff between the NNL and the NPFL over the number of teams to be promoted from the NNL to the NPFL. The impasse which has prevented the 2018/2019 NPFL season from kicking off was thought to have been resolved by the NFF after the Federation decreed that the playoffs must go ahead following demands from the NNL that the top eight teams be promoted directly to the NPFL without a Super 8 tournament.

With the start of the new NPFL season less than two weeks away, it remains to be seen how this latest twist in the plot of what is a gripping drama affects the commencement of domestic league football in the country.