By Olaide Ahli


As the Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL 2023/2024 season approaches its climax, the final matchday promises intense drama both at the top and bottom of the table.

With Enugu Rangers already assured of a continental ticket, the battle for the remaining spots in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup is fierce. Simultaneously, the relegation fight involves multiple clubs, each desperately trying to avoid the drop. Here’s an in-depth look at the scenarios for both relegation and continental qualification.

Continental Qualification Analysis

Enugu Rangers (1st, 67 points)

Current Standing: 67 points, +22 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Gombe United.
Enugu Rangers have secured a place in the CAF Champions League irrespective of their final match result against Gombe United. They have been the standout team, showcasing consistent form and a strong defense throughout the season. Now, they aim to clinch the league title officially.

Remo Stars (2nd, 62 points)

Current Standing: 62 points, +13 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Katsina United.
Remo Stars are in a strong position to secure the second CAF Champions League spot. A win against Katsina United would confirm their qualification, while a draw might also suffice, depending on other results.

Enyimba (3rd, 60 points)

Current Standing: 60 points, +11 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Plateau United.
Enyimba faces a crucial match against Plateau United. A victory could propel them into the CAF Champions League, but a loss might still see them secure a CAF Confederation Cup spot, depending on the performance of teams below them.

Shooting Stars (4th, 59 points)

Current Standing: 59 points, +13 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Sporting Lagos.
Shooting Stars need a win against Sporting Lagos to keep their CAF Champions League hopes alive. Even if they miss out on the top two, they are strong contenders for the CAF Confederation Cup.

Plateau United (5th, 58 points)

Current Standing: 58 points, +15 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Enyimba.
Plateau United must win against Enyimba to stay in the race for continental qualification. Their strong goal difference gives them an edge, but they face a tough challenge.

Lobi Stars (6th, 58 points)

Current Standing: 58 points, +4 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Kano Pillars.
Lobi Stars need a victory against Kano Pillars and favorable results elsewhere to secure a CAF Confederation Cup spot.

Katsina United (7th, 55 points)

Current Standing: 55 points, +4 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Remo Stars.
Katsina United are dark horses in the race. A win against Remo Stars could put them in contention for a continental spot, depending on other results.

Relegation Analysis

Gombe United (20th, 25 points)

Current Standing: 25 points, -56 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Enugu Rangers.
Gombe United are virtually relegated and have no hope of survival.

Heartland Owerri (19th, 38 points)

Current Standing: 38 points, -10 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Kwara United.
Heartland Owerri is also virtually relegated and cannot escape the drop zone.

Doma United (18th, 43 points)

Current Standing: 43 points, -16 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Abia Warriors.
Doma United’s survival hinges on a victory against Abia Warriors and favorable results from other matches. Their poor goal difference complicates their situation.

Sporting Lagos (17th, 46 points)

Current Standing: 46 points, -4 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Shooting Stars.
Sporting Lagos needs at least a point against Shooting Stars to enhance their survival chances. A loss could see them relegated if other results go against them.

Akwa United (16th, 46 points)

Current Standing: 46 points, 0 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Rivers United.
Akwa United must win against Rivers United to secure their NPFL status. They have a slight edge due to their better goal difference compared to Sporting Lagos.

Niger Tornadoes (14th, 48 points)

Current Standing: 48 points, -4 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Sunshine Stars.
Niger Tornadoes need a draw or win to ensure safety. Their position is vulnerable due to goal difference, making their final match crucial.

Kwara United (13th, 48 points)

Current Standing: 48 points, -3 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Heartland Owerri.
Kwara United must secure at least a point against relegation-threatened Heartland Owerri to guarantee their survival.

Kano Pillars (12th, 49 points)

Current Standing: 49 points, -2 goal difference.
Final Match: vs. Lobi Stars.
Kano Pillars are slightly safer but must avoid defeat against Lobi Stars to ensure they stay in the NPFL.


The final matchday of the NPFL 2023/2024 season is set to deliver high-stakes drama both at the top and bottom of the table. Enugu Rangers have already secured a continental ticket, while Remo Stars are favorites to join them in the CAF Champions League. Enyimba, Shooting Stars, Plateau United, and Lobi Stars are locked in a tight race for the remaining continental spots. In the relegation battle, Doma United, Sporting Lagos, Akwa United, Niger Tornadoes, Kwara United, and Kano Pillars are all fighting to avoid joining Gombe United and Heartland Owerri in the drop. Fans can expect an exhilarating finale as these clubs strive for survival and continental glory.

Olaide Ahli
Sports Administrator and Journalist