The top six clubs from the abridged league will from today till June 12 slug it out to determine the two clubs who will represent Nigeria in the 2020 CAF Champions League, while the third-placed team feature in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Lobi Stars will again be one of the favourites for the top prize after they represented the country in this year’s Champions League, reaching the money-spinning stage of the annual competition.
The Makurdi club finalised their build-up for the playoffs in Ijebu-Ode near Lagos, which has proved to be a lucky training ground for them.
Enugu Rangers, who reached the group stage of the 2019 Confederation Cup, and Enyimba were the other teams who emerged from Group A of the abridged league.
Rangers won the group in style, while Enyimba barely made it after they were surprisingly held to a draw in Aba by struggling Wikki Tourists on the home stretch.
Interestingly, the ‘Oriental Derby’ between Rangers and Enyimba will open the round-robin competition this afternoon at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.
Akwa United won Group B after an indifferent start to the season.
The highly-fancied ‘Promise Keepers’ trained in Port Harcourt for a week and under the tutelage of the Brazilian coach Raphael Everton, they will be one of the teams to watch out for in this tournament.
Kano Pillars and surprise team FC Ifeanyiubah are the other teams from Group B.
FC Ifeanyiubah have surprised many thus far after they snapped up unknown youngsters unlike their previous policy of recruiting big names from across the continent and still held their own in the regular season.
They will be widely regarded as the underdogs, but you cannot afford to bet against them pulling off more surprises in the playoffs.
Enyimba vs Enugu Rangers 3-5pm
Kano Pillars vs Akwa United 5-7pm
FC Ifeanyiubah vs Lobi Stars 7-9pm
Akwa United vs FC Ifeanyiubah 3-5pm
Enugu Rangers vs Lobi Stars 5-7pm
Kano Pillars vs Enyimba 7-9pm
By Wale Oyekanmi