Plateau United on Saturday emerged champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League for the first time after beating last season’s champions Enugu Rangers 2-0 at the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos.
They beat closest rivals MFM, who lost 2-1 to El-Kanemi in Maiduguri, to clinch the title. They finished the season with 66 points ahead of MFM’s 62 points.
The two clubs will represent Nigeria in the 2018 CAF Champions League.
Enyimba, who were battling for a continental spot with Akwa United, finished third to secure the lone CAF Confederation Cup spot with a 1-0 win over Katsina United in Calabar. Akwa finished fourth despite beating Kano Pillars 3-0 in Uyo.
Enyimba will be joined by the winners of the 2017 Aiteo Cup in the Confederation Cup.
At the bottom of the league, ABS and Shooting Stars joined already relegated Remo Stars and Gombe United. The Saraki Boys needed a win over Nasarawa United in Lafia to stay afloat but they lost 2-1 to finish the season with 49 points and a return to the National League. They finished 18th.
Shooting Stars needed a draw against Niger Tornadoes in Lokoja to survive the drop. They went into the match in 16th place with 50 points.
But the Ibadan side lost 2-0 to Tornadoes while Wikki Tourists, who were below them before Saturday, were winning 1-0 at Gombe United before the game was abandoned. Gombe finished 19th with 43 points while Remo were 20th with 30 points after losing to Sunshine Stars 1-0 in Sagamu.
Rivers United and Katsina United also beat the drop. Rivers, who were 11th before their match against Abia Warriors, lost 4-1 to their hosts to finish the season in the 15th position with 52 points.
In the individual honours, Anthony Okpotu won the Golden Shoe after scoring Lobi Stars’ only goal in their 1-1 draw with IfeanyiUbah in Nnewi. The goal took his season total to 19 goals. He beat MFM’s Stephen Odey, who had 18 goals, to the award.
Also, the Golden Gloves was won by Nasarawa’s Suraj Ayeleso, who kept 15 clean sheets this season. His closest rivals Mustapha Aliko of Tornadoes and Akwa United’s Olorunleke Ojo ended the season with 13 clean sheets each.