npfl
The draw for Match Day One of the 2016/17 NPFL conducted on Saturday at the Golden Royale Hotel, Bissala Road, Enugu. Photo: LMC

By Andah John

Champions Rangers will begin their title defence with an Oriental Derby against Abia Warriors in the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League season.

2015/16 NPFL champions Rangers/Photo: LMC
2015/16 NPFL champions Rangers/Photo: LMC
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The opening day fixtures will also see seven-time champions Enyimba host Akure side Sunshine Stars.

The most successful northern side in the league Kano Pillars will begin their season at the Sani Abacha stadium against reigning Federation Cup kings, FC Ifeanyiubah.

Also, last season’s second-placed side Rivers United will open their campaign at home against Ladan Bosso’s El-kanemi Warriors.

And in Bauchi, Baba Ganaru would reunite with his former side when Wikki Tourists host Nasarawa United.

Five-time Nigerian champions Shooting Stars will be involved in a game of ‘stars’ when 1999 champions Lobi Stars visit the Lekan Salami stadium in Ibadan.

And close to Ibadan is a game between Nduka Ugbade’s newcomers Remo Stars and Plateau United at the Dipo Dina International Stadium in Ijebu Ode.

NPFL returnees ABS FC have Abdu Maikaba’s  Akwa United to contend as top-flight football returns to the ancient city of Ilorin, while MFM FC begin their second season in Nigeria’s apex league at home against Niger Tornadoes.

And finally, the Karkanda stadium will host the battle of two returnees when Katsina United and Gombe United go toe-to-toe.

Match Day One Fixtures

Enyimba FC Vs Sunshine Stars
Kano Pillars Vs FC Ifeanyi Ubah
Enugu Rangers Vs Abia Warriors
MFM FC Vs Niger Tornadoes
Shooting Stars Vs Lobi Stars
ABS FC Vs Akwa United
Remo Stars Vs Plateau United
Katsina United Vs Gombe United
Rivers United Vs Elkanemi Warriors
Wikki Tourists Vs Nasarawa United.