Reigning Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) champions, Enyimba of Aba will begin their title defence with a crunch fixture as they play host to Confederation Cup campaigners, Bendel Insurance on the opening day of the 2024 NPFL season.
Enyimba who only recently suffered a humiliating CAF Champions League first preliminary round elimination will have a mountain to climb against Insurance who have qualified for the second preliminary round in the Confederation Cup.
It will also be recalled that Insurance was the only unbeaten team in the group phase of the 2023 NPFL abridged season.
The draws for the 2023/2024 season was held yesterday after the Annual General Meeting of the NPFL at the Sandralia Hotel in Jabi, Abuja.
At the event which was attended by all the 20 clubs, major stakeholders including former Super Eagles stars, the fixture between two former champions Plateau United and 3SC of Ibadan was selected to be the star match of the opening round.
In other MatchDay One fixtures billed to kick-off September 9, newly promoted Heartland welcome Lobi Stars in Owerri, returnees and former champions, Kano Pillars travel to Akure to trade tackles with Sunshine Stars, Kastina United host Kwara United while Abia Warriors who survived relegation on the last day will entertain Niger Tornadoes in Umuahia.
In a clash of heavyweights, former champions Rivers United will host Remo Stars who are still nursing the wound of their recent crash in the CAF Champions League, Doma United travel to Enugu to face Rangers, newly promoted Sporting FC Lagos will also make their NPFL debut with a tricky home tie against Gombe United while Bayelsa United host Akwa United in a south-south derby at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the NPFL, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, has said the board will provide a level playing field for the clubs by adhering strictly to the rules and regulations guiding the elite division of Nigerian football league.
“As we move to commence the new season, this Board will be firm in enforcement of the rules and regulations as well as be very fair to all.
“There will be no favouritism in applying the rules no matter whose interest is at stake as our sole interest is the good of the league,” he said.