There will be three matches in the playoffs this year, following the new league format introduced at the start of the season.
Defending champions, Dannaz host Alimosho FC while former champions, Saints will continue their resurgence against a very solid Raineri Ghosts side.
In the Women’s division, there will be one final showdown to see who joins already qualified Alimosho Ladies in the final next month.
Defending champions, Knights Ladies will have it all to do once again when they take on debutants, Dannaz Ladies.
But the question on the lips of most Bet9jaSociaLiga followers is, which of these teams will pick up the Xmas Festival tickets?
ThesociaLiga.com gives further insights as we preview all three matches billed for the Campus Mini Stadium on November 24.
The day’s activities at Campus Mini will kick off with a mouthwatering encounter between two familiar foes, Saints and Raineri Ghosts.
Like other teams in the Bet9jaSociaLiga playoff, the duo will be facing each other for the second time this season, having met earlier in the first half with Saints claiming a narrow 1-0 win.
However, the match on Sunday will be their third meeting overall, and Saints have all the bragging rights.
The Saints Army go into this tie as clear favourites with quite a number of legitimate reasons. They have already defeated the Ghosts, finished ahead of them and also conceded fewer goals than them this season.
Another important reason is that as mentioned earlier, the Saints are unbeaten against the Ghosts in all their previous competitive games.
Nevertheless, Saints manager, Mayowa Sobande, believes the past will count for nothing when the two lock horns.
“That game (1-0 win earlier in the season) is in the past, ” Mayowa said. “This is a different game with higher stakes. We are expecting our toughest game of the season.”
On the preparation of his team, Mayowa added;
“The team understands what is at stake. They have not lost a competitive game against Ranieri and would fight to keep it that way.”
For his opposite number, Deji Oguntubo, while he has nothing but absolute admiration for Saints and he admits they are indeed favourites, he says his side is ready to right their wrongs.
“Saints have always been a strong team and huge favourites for the title, ” Oguntubo told thesociaLiga.com.
“We lost to them earlier in the season and we have taken note of the mistakes we made. So, we definitely will be ready for them as they will be for us as well.”
Dannaz Ladies find themselves having to feature in the playoffs after bowing to the superior and majestic power of Alimosho Ladies in the first phase.
The 2018 finalists, Alimosho, are the key side through to the Xmas Festival in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions.
But for Dannaz, they face in defending champions, Knights Ladies, a team that they have beaten twice already this season without conceding a goal.
In the first half of the campaign, the female Cedars thrashed Knights 4-0 at home and won 0-1 away against the Champions.
Nevertheless, while they remain favourites for their third meeting in Bet9jaSociaLiga against Knights, ruling out the champions will be at their own unfortunate perils.
According to Danny Nazzal, this last game of the playoffs will see two teams that play the best football in the Bet9aSociaLiga go head to head.
Leaving the best for the last, you’d say as Alimosho’s title credential faces its sternest test yet.
While It’s not their first meeting against the Cedars, with revenge certainly the goal for the debutant Herds, they are in for a very long day at the Campus Mini Stadium.
It was a close battle the first and last time both sides met, during the first phase of the current campaign, with the holders running away with a 2-0 victory.
With the stakes higher this time, however, Alimosho’s coach, Raji Yekini has promised the champions a different ball game, but with calls that the field be made a level playing one by the officials.
“They (Dannaz) are not going to find it easier again, ” Yekini said. “That game (playoffs) is not going to be like before.”
“Dannaz is a good team as well but Alimosho players are ready for the day. But the office (officials) should open the game.”
For his opposite number, the game against Alimosho is his players can’t afford to lose as it is a ‘do or die’ affair.
“It’s going to be a match that nobody should miss, ” Nazzal began.
“We will treat the game the way we treat every single game and that’s, it’s a final and as if our lives depended on it.”
“The nature of this match is different because this game is a do or die affair and since we have played against each other, things will be tougher. But I trust that my boys will deliver and that’s because they enjoy playing big games like this ”
We love some tough-talking and one thing is certain to happen this weekend, at the end of the day, we will surely know who the contenders and pretenders are.