Niger United and Safety Babes were crowned champions of the Ardova Handball Premier League 2023 in Lagos on Saturday in Lagos.
Niger United, who are the 2018 champion, led the male category league right from the first phase in Benin City, Edo State and held on to the lead to win the premier league. Their match against second placed Tojemarine Academy, a dead rubber, saw them winning 31-26 in the presence of special dignitaries such as the Chairman, Prudent Group, Alhaji Abdulwasiu Sowami and the Ardova PLC team as well as the President of the Bèninoise Handball Federation Mr. Sidikou Karimou amongst others at the NIS Indoor Sports Hall.
Niger United finish with 61 points while Tojemarine Academy are second with 56 points and Safety Shooters are third with 53 points following their 25-17 victory over Correction Boys.
Kano Pillars who were the defending champion defeated Seasider Boys of Lagos 35-32 to finish fourth with 49 points in a season that they will forget in a hurry. They were not on the podium for the first time since the league started in 2018.
Bendel Dynamos are relegated alongside Police Machine after losing 25-20 to De Defenders. A victory for them and a win by Rima Strikers over Benue Buffaloes would have seen the Benin City based team escape relegation but Benue Buffaloes defeated Rima Strikers and Bendel Dynamos also lost their match.
Relegated Police Machine lost to Confluence Stars 35-26.
In the female category, Safety Babes went through the season unbeaten after winning their final match against Rima Queens 39-31 which earned them 53 points as they retained their title and were crowned champion of the Ardova Handball Premier League 2023.
The only other team that went through the season unbeaten was Adorable Angels of Ilorin in the 2020 season.
Defender Babes finished second with 46 points after winning Delta Queens 32-23 while Plateau Peacocks finished on the podium in for the first time since 2019 as they finished third on the log with 46 points.
The relegted teams are Bayelsa Queens who finished 9th with 24 points and Benue Queens last with 23 points.
Final Day Results
1) Benue Buffaloes–Rima Strikers 25–19.
2) Kano Pillars–Lagos Seasiders 35–32.
3) Confluence Stars–Police Machine 35–26.
4) Bendel Dynamos–D:Defenders 20–25.
5) Correction Boys–Safety Shooters 17–25.
Niger United–Tojemarine Academy 31–26.
Defender Babes–Delta Queens 32–23.
Rima Queens–Safety Babes 31–39.
League Winners (Male Category)
- Niger United
- Tojemarine Academy
- Safety Shooters
- Bendel Dynamos
- Police Machine
League Winners (Female Category)
- Safety Babes
- Defender Babes
- Plateau Peacocks
- Bayelsa Queens
- Benue Queens