STATS TALK: Three talking points from Matchday 25
By Ayobami Animasahun
Ranging from Plateau United’s dominance in the league and its geopolitical zone to the landmark achievements from away wins, The Statsman has highlighted the following talking points from the Matchday 25 actions of the 2019/20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Hail the king from the north-central
Derbies in football are usually defined by the proximity of the clubs, leaving fans in a geopolitical zone, state, or city divided in support of their respective team. The North-Central zone of Nigeria consists of six states comprising of Kwara, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, and FCT. However, only four of the states each has a team in this 2019/20 NPFL season. Unsurprisingly, Plateau United, who currently lead the league standings, have acclaimed a kingship status from this zone.
The 2017 NPFL Champions have authoritatively stamped their authority on the other teams in the North-Central zone this term. Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Kwara United earned Abdu Maikaba’s team an unbeaten status against zonal rivals all through the 2019/20 season – a run of six games without defeat. Four wins and two draws also mean the Tin city club has accrued more points from the North-Central derby than any other side from the zone this campaign.
Katsina United ended 20-year wait
Since gaining promotion to the NPFL in 2016, the Changi Boys have endured a torrid run of 52 away matches without a win, banking on solid home form to avoid relegation every season. However, the wait ended on Wednesday with a 2-1 away win at Sunshine Stars, marking Katsina United’s first away win in Nigeria’s topflight since the recorded 2-1 victory at Enyimba on January 1, 2000.
It is worthy of note that Katsina United were relegated from the top division from the end of 2001 season to the start of 2017 season. Hence, the hoodoo actually lasted for five seasons.
Season of away harvest
The 2019/20 NPFL season has obviously served us several thrills and memorable moments. It is imperative that this campaign also lays its feet on the sands of time and serve fans with landmark achievements. Interestingly, the current campaign is at the edge of recording such memorable accomplishments.
The record for most away wins in a 20-team league format of a NPFL season stands at 31 victories. However, win for Katsina United, Enyimba, and Enugu Rangers at Sunshine Stars, Adamawa United, and Dakkada FC respectively took this season’s tally to 31 away wins. This advertently indicates that the next away win will see the 2019/20 outrightly become the NPFL season with most away wins ever recorded in a campaign. Shall we all be on the lookout?