Completesportsnigeria's.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU who covered the just concluded Nigeria Professional Football League Super-Four Tournament at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu appraises the performances of the four clubs that participated in the competition.
RIVERS UNITED – Champions
The Pride of Rivers, barring any unforseen circumstances will challenge for the NPFL league title once again this season. Stanley Eguma's men who won two and lost one of their three games were by far the most impressive team in the 2016 NPFL Super-Four Tournament.
The Port Harcourt -based side have acquired the services of some of the best players in the league and the team looks ready for the rigorous campaign in the Nigeria Professional Football League, CAF Champions League and the Federation Cup.
In the goalkeeping position, Eguma is spoilt for choice, having to pick from veteran Rotimi Sunday, Olufemi Thomas, Okiemute Odah and Abiodun Akande.
In the defence, Rivers United have unarguably the best left -back (Gabriel Wassa) in the league at the moment and can also count on the trio of skipper Austine Festus, Markson Ojobo and Gabriel Olalekan.
New boys; Nzube Anaezaemba who joined from Enyimba and Esosa Igbinoba from Nasarawa United shone in midfield.
Old war horses; Guy Kuemian and Bernard Ovoke led the attack with great aplomb.
ENUGU RANGERS – 1st Runners-up
The Nigeria Professional Football League champions will be disappointed they failes to win the title in their fortress. However, the handler of the side, Imama Amapakabo must be applauded for having the bravery to try some of the fringe players and new signings especially in their second game against Wikki Tourists.
The Flying Antelopes however failed to reach the height of last season in all their games as majority of their key men were yet to hit top form.
The Coal City side will also need to find a suitable replacement for star forward, Chisom Egbuchulam who shouldered the goal scoring responsibilities for them last season, should he eventually leaves for Tunisian giants, Etoile du Sahel.
Fortune Omoniwari and Daniel Etor have joined them from Heartland and Enyimba respectively, and are top-notch additions who will make the squad stronger.
WIKKI TOURISTS – 2nd Runners-up
The Bauchi Elephants started the 2016 NPFL Super-4 on a high, winning a lot of fans with their impressive attacking style of play in their 2-1 win against FC IfeanyiUbah on the opening day.
They however fizzled out in the next two games, ending the competition in third place after recording a win, draw and one defeat.
Regular stars; Shittu Lawal, Alhassan Ibrahim 'Muazzam' Lawal Abubakar and Nura Usman have all left the club to join their former boss at Akwa United, while Charles Henlong has linked up with Enugu Rangers.
Their new signings; Shamah Tanze, Bature Yaro, Zikiye Jonathan and Idris Sabo all acquainted themselves well in the competition and will play a big role for them in the new season.
FC IFEANYIUBAH – Also-ran
The only side who failed to record a win in the competition. The Anambra Warriors will need to up their performance if they want to make a meaningful impact in the Nigeria Professional Football League, and the CAF Confederation Cup next season.
There was chaos in their camp after defeats in their opening two games against Wikki Tourists and Rivers United which led to Japanese American born trainer, Kenichi Yatsuhashi walking out of the team.
The recall of the duo of Tamen Medrano and Wasiu Jimoh who were earlier dropped by Yatsuhashi improved their performance in the last game against Rangers.