Aside getting the coveted Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) trophy, champions designate, Enugu Rangers, will also pocket a N40 million prize money from the Merit Award of the League Management Company (LMC).
Enugu Rangers need only a point to take the crown no matter what happens in Uyo, where their closest rivals, Rivers United of Port Harcourt, will meet Akwa United on the final day of the league.
The big prize money is from a total of N200m pool set aside by the LMC as reward for final position on the league table at the end of the season on Sunday.
Last season, the highest payout from the Merit Award, which went to Enyimba of Aba, was N30 million from a total pool of N150 million and this year’s figure of N200 million represents an increase of 25 per cent.
According to the LMC, the Merit Award pool has been witnessing an annual progression from N50m in 2012/13 to N75m in 2013/14 season and now N200m. The top three Clubs on the final table usually received the chunk of the Merit Award, which supports the clubs financially in their preparation for the CAF Club competitions the next season.
According to figures released by the LMC, the champions would have received a minimum of N90m in all direct payments for the 2016 season, including the Basic Award, which comprises a pool of funds shared equally amongst all the 20 participating clubs, the Merit award paid to clubs based on their final position on the table, the Football Development and the Bonus award, which is paid to clubs based on performances, including incentives for improving match attendance, away wins/draw, fielding players under the age of 18 and hosting live broadcast matches.
The lowest placed team in the NPFL this season would thus have received up to N55m in direct payments from the LMC from all payment Centres.
A statement from the LMC explained, “in addition to the direct payments, clubs also benefit from other indirect payments such as free registration of players and officials, free insurance, payment of match officials’ indemnities and hotel accommodation as well as sponsored seminars and other engagements funded by the LMC.”
Rangers are three points ahead of Rivers United with the Flying Antelopes hosting El-Kanemi Warriors at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium now called The Cathedral by Enugu fans.
They need a point to guarantee the title while Rivers United go hunting for three points in Uyo against Akwa United. The Port Harcourt side will seek to win big while hoping that Rangers will falter against their visitors.
Meanwhile, Mountain of Fire and Miracle Football Club (MFM FC) midfielder, Onuwa Chukwuka, has described this weekend’s Match Day 38 clash with FC IfeanyiUbah as a career defining match for players of the Lagos-based team.
MFM FC hosts the Anambra Warriors at the Agege Stadium in a match the outcome will impact both teams either way. MFM FC must win and hope that results in Jos and Umuahia goes negative for rival relegation threatened sides, Heartland of Owerri and Abia Warriors. On the other hand FC IfeanyiUbah needs the result to play on the continent. .
“This is the last match of the season for all of us and it is a must win. Our lives and career depend on this game… we cannot afford to lose this match because we do not want to disappoint our fans, families and management.
“We started the season brightly but at some point, our inexperience in the premier league showed. Don’t forget this is our first season in the top flight. We have learnt our lessons and we pray God will crown our efforts with success,” he said.
MFM FC currently occupy the 17th position with 42 points, the same number of points as Warri Wolves and know that their job is not made easier with FC IfeanyiUbah needing the result in Lagos to guarantee a place in the lucrative CAF Champions League, if rivals, Rivers United, falter in Uyo.