The latest edition of the Nigerian Professional Football League is in full gear, with clubs setting about achieving their various goals.
The bigger clubs like Enyimba and Kano Pillars expectedly have lofty ambitions of winning the title, while others would be content with even mid-table finishes.
With 11 matchdays gone in the season, we are slowly getting an indication of how the season could shape out to be, while some unknown players are already making a mark on the league.
The Nigerian league is one of the toughest and most competitive in the world and winning the title is no mean feat.
One club which could defy expectations and go all the way to lift the trophy is Akwa Starlets (renamed Dakkada FC) and the Akwa Ibom-based team are punching above their weight to occupy 5th spot in the standings.
While it might seem improbable, it is not impossible for Dakkada FC to win the league and here, we shall be highlighting three reasons why they may be crowned league champions come the end of the 2019-20 NPFL season.
#3 They have the element of surprise
Dakkada FC are relative upstarts in the Nigerian football scene, having been formed only 16 years ago in 2004.
As recently as last year, they were plying their trade in the Nigerian second-tier and gained promotion by virtue of them finishing as champions in the Nigerian National League.
This saw them participate in the top-flight for the first time in their history and in the long-run, while this lack of experience could harm their chances, it could also play to their advantage in terms of giving them an edge over their opponents.
Unlike the more established sides like Enyimba, Heartland, and Kano Pillars, not much is known about Dakkada and like MFM (who finished 2nd on the table just a year after participating in the NPFL for the first time), this relative obscurity could also play to the advantage of Dakkada FC.
#2 They have the full support of their state government
Dakkada FC is based in Uyo, the capital city of the Oil-rich state of Akwa Ibom in the Niger Delta.
Given its oil-rich pedigree, it stands to reason that Akwa Ibom state is one of the most financially stable states in the whole of Nigeria and this has translated into massive financial support for its football clubs.
The state is the only one in the country to have two clubs in the current NPFL (Dakkada and Akwa United) and despite the extra burden of running two clubs, it has been unfazed and has been unwavering in its support of the two clubs.
Before the start of the season, the Akwa Ibom state government went on a spending spree that saw the playing squad of Dakkada reinforced in a bid to strengthen the team ahead of their debut campaign in the top-flight.
So far, they have not shown any signs of wavering and with Governor Udom Emmanuel a well-known football-lover, it is highly likely that he would continue supporting the club to go all the way.
#1 The big guns are somewhat underperforming
A cursory glance at the current NPFL table would reveal an underlying fact: most of the heavy-hitters have so far struggled to find their rhythm.
After 11 matchdays, some of the more established Nigerian clubs find themselves further down the table, with unheralded teams usurping them on the standings.
Defending champions Enyimba have found it tough to effectively juggle their continental ambitions with domestic fixtures and are currently placed 10th on the log (albeit with two games in hand).
Further down, Kano Pillars have been poor, winning just three of their 10 fixtures to date and currently occupy the 13th spot on the log while Heartland are two places beneath them in 15th.
The most disappointing team so far has been the 2016 champions Rangers, with the Enugu club currently occupying bottom place and although they have three games in hand, their status as the only unrelegated club in NPFL history would be under serious threat if they don't start posting positive results soon.
The struggles being exhibited by the bigger clubs in the NPFL this season could see Dakkada take advantage and end the campaign as league champions.