As Akwa United rejoiced in their NPFL title win, the battle for continental spots and the struggle for survival took place on Monday evening.
Enyimba have put themselves in a dire and tricky position. The Peoples’ Elephants snoozed, although they got a 1-1 draw, it seems like a loss to the men from Aba.
Enyimba welcomed a desperate Sunshine Stars side to the Enyimba International Stadium. With both sides having something to fight for, it was always going to be a tough one for both sides.
After a goalless first half, the pressure at the stadium in Aba reached sky-high levels as Enyimba needed to win to stand in good stead for continental football.
A 60th-minute goal from Emmanuel Ampiah would have done a lot to calm the nerves of the Aba faithful to rest.
But a 77th-minute equaliser from former Rennes midfielder, Ejike Uzoenyi, took the wind off the sails of the Elephants.
A late push from Enyimba amounted to nought, and Sunshine Stars left Aba with a point in their kitty.
The draw favours Sunshine in their battle for survival as it takes them to 42 points, just goals difference away from safety.
But for Enyimba, it places a massive dent on their continental ambitions as wins for Nasarawa United, Kano Pillars, and Rivers United leave the People’s Elephants languishing in the fifth position, one point away from a continental spot.
What even makes it worse for Enyimba is that of the five teams in contention for continental places, Enyimba have the least goal difference at +6. The closest to them are 3rd placed Kano Pillars on +10.
It’s always hard to say goodbye, but Ifeanyi Ubah FC do not have any option but to do so as they have been relegated from the NPFL.
A 3-0 loss to Jigawa Golden Stars confirmed the fate of the Nnewi based side. Three second-half goals from Sunni Bature, Ali Kalla and Samuel Stone were enough to send Ifeanyi Ubah to the second division.
The Anambra Warriors are on 36 points, and with one game left to play, it is impossible for them to survive as they sit six points away from safety.