Former League champions, Shooting Stars Club of Ibadan will begin their chase towards a return to the Nigeria Professional Football League with a tie with Bendel Insurance today at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu after the fixtures for the NNL Super Eight were made official yesterday.
3SC were relegated on the final day of the 2016-17 season despite having 50 points as they were two points short and the Oluyole Warriors have lost at the playoffs thrice including the 3-0 loss to then Akwa Starlets in 2019 which elicited the resignation of the technical crew before they were pacified to return.
The draw for the NNL Super 8 held at the Autella Hotel, Enugu had the nation’s football top guns in attendance and the eight teams who finished the regular season in the Southern and Northern Conference in the top two across four centres are in Enugu to vie for the four NPFL tickets at the end of hostilities on Saturday.
The processes for the fixtures were held in compliance with the best global football practice as officials of teams took turn to pick boxes for the two conferences namely Southern and Northern Conferences.
The Super 8 featuring top 2 teams in each of group A1, A2, B1 and B2 will begins today (Tuesday) with the match between Gombe United and El-Kanemi Warriors at 1pm while the second match of the day is between Bendel Insurance and 3SC at 3pm just as DMD face Niger Tornadoes at 5pm and Ekiti United will lock horns with Remo Stars under the flood light at 7pm.
On Wednesday being Day 2, actions will begin at 8:30am with El-Kanemi Warriors taking on Niger Tornadoes while 3SC will tackle Remo Stars at 11am and the third match of the day is between Gombe United and DMD at 4pm.
Also under he flood light, Ekiti United will have the privilege of playing their second match also under flood light when they trade tackles with Bendel Insurance at 6pm.
The group stage ends on Thursday September 9 with DMD facing El-Kanemi Warriors at 8:30am while Ekiti United will face 3SC at 11:30am just as Niger Tornadoes slug it out with DMD at 4pm and last match of the day is between Remo Stars and Bendel Insurance at 6pm.
Top two teams in each of group A and B are automatically promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League-NPFL next season and they will also slug it out in the third place and final of the NNL SUPER 8 to know who eventually wins the title as the kings of Nigeria National League 2021.
Friday will be a rest day for all the teams while the two teams that finish second in group A and B will play the third place match just as the final wll be between the leaders of groups A and B.
Both the third place match and final of the 2021 NNL Super 8 hosted by Enugu State government will come up on Saturday September 11.
Organizers have assured all participating teams of fair play.
El Kanemi Warriors, Gombe United, Niger Tornadoes, Bendel Insurance, and Remo Stars just like 3SC have had forays in the top flight before they were demoted but Ekiti United and DMD are newcomers to the playoffs and will hope to create massive upset as underdogs.