COVID-19: Nigerian football leagues get approval for resumption

After months of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, football leagues in Nigeria have finally received the green light from the federal government for resumption.

The government’s approval for the resumption of football leagues in Nigeria was conveyed by the national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid- 19 Sani Aliyu.

Mr Aliyu, however, said matches will resume without spectators at the stadiums.

“Restriction is removed on outdoor communal (non-contact) sports and use of recreational parks for supervised physical exercise and sporting leagues to resume with no fans in stadiums,” he said.

The Nigeria Professional Football League has been on a forced break since matchday 25 games were played in March, due to COVID-19.

The nigeria football federation had to use points per game ratio to determine the teams that would represent Nigeria in continental club competitions while there was neither relegation or promotion of teams from the lower divisions.

Plateau United, Rivers United, and Enyimba will represent Nigeria on the continent, while 2019 Aiteo Cup winners, Kano Pillars, will become Nigeria’s fourth representative on the continent.

The 2019/20 abridged Nigerian National League season, was declared null and void, while the yet-to-commence 2019/20 season of the Nigeria Women’s Football League and Nationwide League were aborted.

The leagues had tentatively been scheduled to resume for September and October 2020 and definite dates are now expected with clearance now received from the government.

Aside from the leagues, it is expected that the Nigeria U-17 women team, the Flamingos, will also effectively resume preparations for their World Cup qualifying match against Ghana.

The NFF had hinted they would be seeking a waiver for the girls to go into camp before but that may no longer be necessary going by the latest development.

Nigeria will travel to face Ghana in the first leg of the second-round qualifiers in October before hosting their perennial rivals in November.

The winners over two legs qualify for the World Cup in India next year.

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