•Pillars, Heartland also promoted

Former champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Kano Pillars, and their northwest rivals Katsina United have gained promotion back to the topflight at the ongoing Nigeria National League playoffs in Asaba.

Prolific striker, Victor Mbaoma, converted the penalty that helped Katsina beat Pillars 1-0 and secured their place in the NPFL, while the defeat didn’t affect Kano Pillars fate.

Pillars topped the northern conference with six points and a superior goals difference followed by Katsina, who also had six points.

“We are back to where we belong! Congratulations to our players, coaches, management, fans and the Kano State Government for the support and encouragement,” the four-time NPFL champions posted after the game.

Both Pillars and Katsina were relegated from the NPFL at the end of the 2021/22 season.

Meanwhile, five-time champions of the NPFL, Heartland of Owerri, completed the quartet of the new sides in the topflight after coming back from a goal down to beat Sporting Lagos 2-1.

The Naze Millionaires also returned to the topflight, just one season after their relegation.

Abeokuta side Stormers FC defeated FC One Rocket 4-0 in the other game but it wasn’t enough to earn them a spot with four points as Heartland’s win over already promoted Sporting took their points to seven.

Having finished top of both groups, Pillars and Heartland will face off in the final of the NNL Super 8 on Friday to determine the ultimate champions of the second tier.

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