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Evaluating the NPFL contenders' transfer dealings

Evaluating the NPFL contenders' transfer dealings
From ESPN - January 11, 2018

Ahead of Sunday's Nigeria Professional Football League kickoff, KwesESPN evaluates the transfer business undertaken by the division's title contenders.

Which of the league's top teams improved on their deficiencies during the offseason, and how could the new faces shape the title race this term?

Plateau United

The defending league champions have astutely reinforced their title-winning squad from last year, as they look to defend their crown and compete in the CAF Champions League for the first time.

Tosin Omoyele was recruited from Osun United in the Nigeria National League on the strength of his 15 league goals from open play. The forward has the ability to consistently score, a luxury which was missing during the title run-in last year.

Wingers King Osanga and Amos Gyang have also been brought in to give more options in the wide areas, while Charles Henlong and Raphael Ayagwa add steel in the engine room.

Enyimba

The People's Elephant have avoided any major big-name signings.

The one exception, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, is a controversial addition considering the fact that the Nigeria international goalkeeper is arguably not a notable upgrade on either Theophilus Afelokhai or Fatau Dauda.

Ernest Governor Wasiu Alalade and Mohammed Mohammed were signed from relegated ABS FC, while experienced forward Abdulrahaman Bashir returns to the fold after two seasons at Nasarawa United.

Led by the returning coach Paul Aigbogun, Enyimba do not look like title contenders based on their recruitment and pre-season form.

However, a continental ticket could be within the reach of the seven-time league champions.

Akwa United signalled their intention of succeeding both domestically and in the CAF Confederation Cup by signing 16 players in the transfer window.

Kelly Kester is a direct replacement for the departed Afeez Aremu in midfield, but despite failing to sign a high-profile striker, the Promise Keepers' won the race for the signatures of both Ajibola Otegbeye and Victor Mbaoma, their headline attacking reinforcements.

The increase in goal scoring options this season and a competitive bench makes Akwa United firm favourites for the title.

Kano Pillars

Sai Masu Gida endured a disappointing season last year, finishing eighth on the table, but look set to mount a title challenge after a host of impressive signings.

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