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Written by on February 23, 2024

The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is an unforgiving league, one of the toughest in Africa. If you want to win the league, many would argue, you must (and this is not negotiable) be impeccably good. The level of perfection, however, is not measured in how many goals you score as a team; it is how by how good you can be at home.


Although the nigeria NPFL has evolved past the “all home teams must win” syndrome, with improved officiating allowing for transparency, one cannot shake off the psychological and physical strain of playing away from home. Last season, Enyimba did not win all their home matches. They lost some, and were, at some point, awful at home. But last season’s abridged league is not enough yardstick to measure how a Nigerian team should play, or what ingredient make a team successful in the league. 

However, some indices are straight lines that run across different NPFL champions: they have good home records. 


The seaon that Enugu Rangers won the league, the 2015/2016 season, “The Cathedral” was a fortress for Rangers. They played, not only scintillating football that left fans awed and excited, but also won matches convincingly. The Cathedral was seen as a slaughter slab where the best teams got butchered. 

The next champions, in the 2016/2017 season, were Plateau United, and they, like their predecessors, also had a good home record. 


While it would be statistically misleading to say that any team that has a 100% home record is likely to win the league, one cannot look past the proverbial handwriting on the wall, and infer, by calculated guess, that the Peace Boys look prime to be champions this season. 

Hold on, before you call me a crazy fanatic and tell me to shove my optimism up the place where the sun doesn’t reach, let me explain the reason for my optimism.


First, Plateau United have scored the third highest number of goals this season (26). The goalscoring prowess of this team, led by Albert Hilary, a man whose stature as a Peace Boy has steadily grown over the years, shows that Plateau united might be up to something. And that something is the league. Hilary has scored 10 goals this season, combining well with Nenrot Silas, a man whose efforts in the team can go unnoticed if you’re not a keen student of the game. Nenrot’s ability to press opposing defenders when the team is without the ball affords Hilary the freedom he needs to score goals and be in good positions to score. The synergy between both players, strengthened by the team’s attacking style of play, makes Plateau United a force to reckon with. 

Second, the team’s chemistry has improved since match day one. Although they were not at their optimal level against Lobi Stars over the weekend, they won 2-1, and could have scored another if the referee had called the obvious penalty shout. But that’s water under the bridge. 

It is often said that champions are teams that win games even when they’re not in their best of forms. Plateau United have shown this season that, even on their off days, they can win. Their grittiness and composure at the back (something they have toIt is often said that champions are teams that win games even when they’re not in their best of forms. Plateau United have shown this season that, even on their off days, they can win. Their grittiness and composure at the back (something they have to perfect in away games) can be relied upon when push comes to shove.

While it’d be hasty to say they are league favourites, one can’t look past the possibility of the Peace Boys going top of the table this weekend if they win against Shooting Stars. 

They have a chance to go top of the table…if Lobi stars and Remo Stars fail to win their home games. Both teams, Remo and Lobi stars, have winnable home games. Remo’s match against Rivers United would be postponed because the boys from Rivers would be participating in the CAF Confederations cup. But for Lobi, a win against Heartland would see them maintain their position. 

But Plateau United would be optimistic that Heartland, who sits 19th on the table, would spring some magic and at least get a draw against Lobi. Even if that doesn’t happen, the Peace Boys know that their destiny is in their hands. They know that, with only 4 points away from home, they can improve their standing by being like Enyimba: get as many points away from home as you get at home. 

PS: Enyimba has gotten 10 points away from home, the highest of any team in the league. 

Plateau United’s chances of being crowned champions hangs on two pivots: their unbeaten home record, and their defensive composure away from home. 

Mbwas Mangut’s side have shown signs of a team capable of enforcing their style away from home, but they’ll have to force the issue on days when their style doesn’t work. 

Their chances of winning the league this season, in our books, is 4 out of 10. While Plateau United aren’t aiming for a Leicester City miracle this season, they may go on an Arsenal FC run if things go according to plan. 

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