Akwa United made NPFL history as they claimed the title for the first time in their 25-year history. Their players and management deserve a great deal of kudos as they braved the odds and produced a string of brilliant performances, including setting a new record in the league after going 18 matches without a single loss. The Promise Keepers have produced the largest number of players on our Team of the Season for the 2020/21 NPFL season.
The team is set up in a 3-5-2 formation, with title-winning coach Kennedy Boboye at the helm of affairs.
Goalkeeper: Adewale Adeyinka (Akwa United)- The Kwara-born keeper kept 16 clean sheets in the NPFL season despite missing the last five matches of the season due to injury, smashing the record of 15 set by Kano Pillars goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso as he helped his side steady their defence on the way to the title.
Defender: Olisa Ndah (Akwa United)- Ndah’s inclusion in the TOTS was non-negotiable. With his trademark dreadlocks, the soft-spoken giant manned the Promise Keepers’ defence elegantly, with his composure on the ball and ability to launch attacks with his impressive passing range drawing comparisons to Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk from some quarters. Ndah was one of the first names on the team sheet and played a huge part in Akwa United’s success, with the side only losing three games when he played this season.
Defender: Sampson Gbadebo (Akwa United)- The second half of an impenetrable Akwa United defence, Gbadebo formed an immaculate pairing with Ndah at the back for the Promise Keepers. His aerial ability and tenacious tackling saw his help his side to concede only 24 goals all season in the league.
Defender: Christopher Nwaeze (Kwara United)- Former youth international Nwaeze was a rock at the back for Kwara United as the Afonja Warriors finished the season in third place. The captain of his side, Nwaeze was pivotal at both ends of the pitch, scoring for his side and helping them keep 18 clean sheets in the season. He also earned a call-up to the Super Eagles after his performances for Kwara United caught the eyes of the trainers.
Right Wing Back: Chigozie Obasi (Nasarawa United)- Despite only joining the Solid Miners at the halfway point of the season, former U20 international Obasi had an immense impact, helping them reach the brink of qualification for continental football. Obasi scored four freekicks and recorded eight assists in the league as he marauded up and down the right flank.
Midfield: Austin Oladapo (Enyimba)- Enyimba’s captain Oladapo was the definition of composure in midfield. The left-footed midfield general added goals to his game with several thumping efforts for his side from outside the box. His absence from Enyimba’s team coincided with the sharp drop in form that saw them nearly miss out on the top three places in the league.
Midfield: Oche Ochowechi (Plateau United)- Oche showed flair, composure and prodigious skill in his kitty as he dazzled in the middle of the park for Plateau United. In an underwhelming season for the side, he was one of the few bright lights. Oche scored six goals for Plateau United from his midfield position.
Midfield: Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars)- Ageless Ali was one of the league’s most efficient players in the season at 41 years of age. The Kano Pillars captain scored 14 goals and made two assists in the season, eclipsing his personal goals tally in the NPFL despite his advanced age. Ali also reached 100 league goals in the 2020/21 season as he ended the season on 104 official career goals in the NPFL.
Left Wing Back: Anayo Iwuala (Enyimba)- 22-year-old Enyimba winger Iwuala is said to be the subject of a $500,000 enquiry from Tunisian side Esperance after his ability on the football pitch helped him to stand out for Enyimba in the 2020/21 season. Iwuala recorded eight assists and five goals for Enyimba in the NPFL last season as he became a full Nigeria international, making his debut against Benin Republic.
Striker: Charles Atshimene (Akwa United)- Atshimene was signed from Warri Wolves in the off-season and played a bit-part role for the Promise Keepers in the first half of the season before the exit of Ndifreke Effiong thrust him into the limelight. Atshimene thrived and created a new goalscoring record for Akwa United en route to leading them to the league title. Atshimene scored 19 goals in the league with one assist.
Striker: Silas Nwankwo (Nasarawa United)- Previously of Sunshine Stars, Nwankwo turned heads with his performance for the Solid Miners in the just-concluded season. Nwankwo scored 19 goals to emerge as the league’s leading goalscorer and added 7 assists for his side.
Dele Aiyenugba (Kwara United)
Adekunle Adeleke (Abia Warriors)
David Phillip (Akwa United)
Mohammed Zulkifilu (Plateau United)
Sadeeq Yusuf (Sunshine Stars)
Stephen Jude (Kwara United)
Ibrahim Olawoyin (Rangers International)
Tebo Franklin (Nasarawa United)
Godwin Aguda (Rivers United)