Niger United, Safety Babes Claim Handball League Titles

On Saturday in Lagos, Niger United and Safety Babes were crowned Ardova Handball Premier League 2023 champions.

On the final day at the NIS Gymnasium facility in Surulere, Lagos, Niger United defeated Tojemarine Academy 31-26 to win the men’s title for the second time after doing so in 2018.

The Minna-based team won the tournament with 61 points. Tojemarine Academy finished second with 56 points, while Safety Shooters finished third with 53 points.

Four-time winners and Pillars finished fourth with 49 points in a season they will soon forget after failing to make the podium for the first time since 2018.

After finishing at the bottom of the standings, Bendel Dynamos and Police Machine were relegated to the second tier.

In the women’s division, Safety Babes became the second team to go undefeated in a season, following Adorable Angels in 2020.

Safety Babes won the championship for the third time in a row, outscoring Rima Queens by 53 points.

Defender Babes finished second with 46 points, while Plateau Peacocks made their first appearance on the podium since 2019.

Samuel Ocheho, President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria, praised the sponsors Ardova PLC for their unwavering support and commitment to the development of the game in Nigeria.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to Ardova PLC for elevating the standards of the league and providing a platform for our athletes to shine. The league has been a springboard for several of our players to be selected for national team duties and several players have gotten clubs outside the shores of the country because of the quality of the league,” he said.

The Chairman of Prudent Energy Group, Abdulwasiu Sowami, commended the handball federation for the successful conclusion of the premier league season.

He said: “We believe the partnership with Ardova PLC has helped to position Nigeria handball at the highest pedestal and exposed the best players in the league to international reckoning. We therefore remain committed to the development of handball in Nigeria and look forward to continued partnership and cooperation with the federation.”

The competition’s most valuable players were Azeez Suleiman of Tojemarine Academy and Toyin Yusuf of Plateau Peacocks, while the top scorers were Amarachi Oparaugo of Imo Grasshoppers with 157 goals and Aminu Aliyu of Niger United with 149 goals.

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