24 February 2017
The Nigerian National League (NNL), the country’s second-tier football league will kick off on Friday, 17th of March, 2017.
The kick-off date was announced at an extra-ordinary congress held on Thursday in Abuja. Several decisions were taken at the Abuja Congress which include the sustenance of the structure of the league where Teams are divided into two groups based on regional location.
Unlike last season when the teams were divided into four groups, twice each in North and South, there are two groups in the forthcoming campaign. There are 14 teams in each of the groups and top two teams in each group will qualify for the top-flight league, NPFL.
In the match-day one fixtures released, Warri Wolves and Heartland FC who relegated last season will kick off their promotion battle with away ties against Abia Comets and Delta Force in Group B.
Also in Group B, Ikorodu United is away to Crown FC of Ogbomoso. Papillo FC, a team owned by former International, Kanu Nwankwo will be guest of AS Racine, a team handled by another former International, Victor Aghali.
A newly repackaged Insurance FC, owned by the Edo State Government will host My People FC, owned by the Sinagogue of all Nation (SCOAN).
In Group A, Kwara United are away to a newly reconstituted FC Taraba. FC Abuja, owned by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hosts former top flight side, Mighty Jets of Jos.
Giwa FC of Jos are campaigning in Group A but all matches involving the club will be pending until the NFF give a position on the club and its owner.
Giwa FC were expelled from the NPFL last season for repeatedly flouting League Management Company rules.
Unlike top flight clubs in the NPFL, more NNL teams are privately owned. Bida Lions, a community team in Niger State sold the qualification slot to a team owned by Chief Afe Babalola. The change of name is expected to be completed before the season start.
FRSC FC is owned and Financed by the Federal Road Safety Commission while FC Abuja is owned by EFCC.
The former first Vice president of the Nigerian Football Association, Dr. Gabriel Chukwuma is the proprietor of Nnewi United in Group B.
Giwa FC, Osun United, Unicem Rovers, Crown FC, First Bank FC and Go Round are all privately owned teams.
2016/2017 NNL Week One fixtures
Kickoff date is 17th of March, 2017.
Adamawa United vs Yobe Desert Stars
Bida Lions (Afe-Babalola) vs Sokoto United
FC Taraba vs Kwara United
FC Zamfara vs Kogi United.
FRSC FC vs Kaduna United
Giwa FC vs Jigawa GS
FC Abuja vs Mighty Jets
Bayelsa United vs Osun United
Abia Comets vs Warri Wolves
Akwa Starlets vs Unicem Rovers
AS Racine vs Papilo FC
Insurance FC vs My People FC
Crown FC vs Ikorodu United
Delta Force vs Heartland FC
First Bank vs Go Round FC
Dreams FC (Nnewi United) vs Gateway United
Author: Timilehin Boyinde
Oluwatimilehin Boyinde is a research writer and a social media strategist. A public affairs analyst, he writes about history, politics, sports, life matters and technology. He is passionate about happenings in Local and international political arenas. He is an avid Manchester United fan and an unapologetic Nigerian.