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For the love of the game – by Johnson Ambisa

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In as much as we love watching the European Football Leagues, we most often times wished the

Nigeria Football Leagues will be that fascinating too. Seeing that our local football league has

Been plunged into an unconventional woe. We now seem to be taking the low standards as

normalcy.

Sometimes, we seem to be getting it right, but then, we deviate again, and again. Hell No! But for

Us to get it right, we mustadheretosomeoftheimportantfactorsIwillbeoutliningbelow.These

features were critically researched to provide a possible solutions for our Local League

Management.

SECURITY

Over the years, the Nigerian Football League has been tormented with fans of “Hooliganism”. The

Home fans, most especially, have made it extremely hard for the opponent’s team to earn

Themselves a draw, more of a win.

Since 1972, when the Nigeria Football League started, it has always been one trouble of match

Insecurity leading to another. In the year 2012, the NFL has been said to be the “World Toughest

League” because of its difficulties to clinch an away win. Not until in 2016 Nasarawa United

Changed the narrative, at the Sani Abacha Stadium in the ancient city of Kano, where they gained

Victory over Kano Pillars with a 2-1 full-time score. Breaking the club’s home win jinxed record for

12 years. It was a world record that was never taken into serious consideration. But it is also

Understood that, that only came with the price of their fan’s hooliganism. That made an

International headlines on various sports outlets.

Such happenings in our league simply keep occurring because the appropriate measures to be

Put in place to curb such fans menace shave has long been neglected.

This has further made the league uninterested for Nigerian Football lovers and

Sponsors/Partners to invest. Though efforts have been made, it seems not to be enough. For

instance, in the English Premier League, not less than 200 policemen are made available for a

single match. Not forgetting that the club also have its own internal security known as “Club

Stewards”. The club stewards are also recruited in handy. This, in the EPL, have yielded a positive,

Responsive and a required outcome. But here in NFL, just about 5-7 policemen are assigned

during a match and most of them stand at the main entrance where gate fees are collected. If we

must talk about how to improve our local league, we must first look at the security management

for the league. We must also talk about the security and safety of the visiting players,

coaches/staff, and the officiating personnel, as well. It should be a piece of common knowledge to note

that if the atmosphere is not secured and taken into consideration, the NFL will fail in its purpose.

In a nutshell, in most foreign football leagues makes it a topmost priority to assign a high

Numbers of security personnel. One policeman is assigned for 1-50 fans. We must learn and

Start cultivating such security strategies they used for their sports or ours will keep remaining in its

shambles.

SPONSORSHIP & PARTNERSHIP.

If the security solution is surely met, there will surely be offers for the League

sponsorship/partnership and this will most definitely bring massive reboosts to the league.

Those who are willing and ready to sponsor the league through the NFF will do so only if a certain

Attendance is reasonably gained. For this to happen, the NFF need to create an atmosphere for

Sponsors and Partners by ensuring that the security measures are met.

 

STADIUMMAINTENANCE&SPORTSTECHNOLOGY.

Our stadium is a shuffling thing to talk about. We have just one standard stadium in the whole

Country and that is the “Nest of Champions Stadium”, Akwa Ibom. The rest are already dilapidated

Or nothing worthy to talk of. The fields are filled with syntactic grasses(artificial grass), thus,

Making the players vulnerable to injuries. Every professional football club in Africa and Europe

Are seriously doing away with the syntactic grasses, replacing them with natural grasses on

Match and training pitches.

Technology has been brought upon sports and, football has its own share. We must

Conjoined the home leagues with sports technology. There are “tech vests” recently worn by footballers

(athletes). Such vest helps dictate the heartbeats and gives an immediate alert in case of

Heart attacks and also help read the distance covered by players on the pitch. This has brought

about a drastic reduction in cardiac arrest and the well-being of footballers, unlike before.

 

PLAYERS WELFARE.

There have been due lamentations over the poor wages/salaries of Football Players in the local

league. Most of the players are abandoned to their fate when they sustain chronic and life-threatening injuries, while some clubs terminate the player’s contracts in the name of surplus to

requirements when they can’t treat such players. For the sake of the sport, no one can give their whole

to the sport in fear of such. Unless their pay Is standard, the league will keep losing their best players for amateur clubs in Europe. Such good players end up going for trials in nearby Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, South Africa etc.

A shame.

The world of sport is so financially buoyant, that even the football players playing their trade in

Our local league should earn something meaningful that will see them living comfortably within

Their earnings. No player playing his or her trade in the local league should be made to regret

Taking such a beautiful career loved by many for a regret.

 

BRANDING&MEDIABROADCASTING.

Unlike our counterparts, South African, their Football League is branding and televising, are on

Other level. A proposed sports TV and Radio Stations should be created in dedication to our local

league. Each of our league matches deserves to be televised live for viewers. As It has always been

noticed, the South African Super sports Channels cannot forsake televising their domestic

leagues matches over ours, never will they. Also, there should be recruits of local Football

Commentators who will take the matches with our local ascent or major dialects. Same thing the

South African do with their Zulu’s and Swahili’s ascent. Same with Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria etc…do

With their Arabian ascent.

Base on a recent survey, it is understood that only about 5% of the Nigeria football lovers know

How exactly the NFL clubs kits looks like. This is a poor indication of how well the Nigerian people

Know about the NFL.

Again, the media (online) outlets of almost every team in the NFL are poorly managed. Where the

Event of the clubs activities and matches are not properly documented, their websites barely have

Knowledge able information to share to the public of their teams. It is supposed to be with just a

Click every details of the club should be obtained by football lovers.

YOUTH PLAYERS DEVELOPMENT.

Most of the Youth Teams in our local leagues are still yet to be established. Just like any

Professional football leagues should consider the growth and development of youth players, we

Seems to be focusing only on the First Team. No league excel the way it wished by abandoning

The “Youth Player Developmental Scheme” and if we must start seeing ours from such angle, we

Must come up some strick rules and guidelines for every Team in the NFL to follow. Rules like,

Every team must have at least 3 sets of it youth teams (U13,U16&U19), respectively. Such youth

team will also have their allowances, tournaments and competitions, as well. Another rule that

will help see a positive outcome in the development of the youth players is giving at least a

certain number of youth players a trial match and promoting them to the senior team every

season. This will make them feel prepared for the higher stages.

The NFF can bring a liaison agreements between the NFL and Ministry of Youth and Sports,

Making sure every youth player attend academic classes. This will also safeguard them for the

Future in case of awful injuries that will terminate any player’s career or when they retire from

The game. They can proceed in life with their academic certificate(s).

There are lots of factors to be considered, but the highlighted factors are advised to be followed

Sequentially because our league is in it prime of ignominy.

 

Yusuf Luka, is a journalist by profession, He is a graduate of Bingham University. Outside of work, He enjoys hiking with friends, Reading books, and Watching movies. Let's connect on social media.

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