SIGNS OF THE END: Can Nigeria Football Rise To A New Era Of Serious Business

They say, “people that lives in glass house don’t throw stone.” But when you begin to see things like that happen in Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Nigeria Premier League (NPL), when people in the glass house Abuja begin to throw stone at each another in protest of corruption and political manipulations of Executive positions in the football administrative house – and incessant court case everywhere – then you know the end has come.

What other signs do we need to see. Nigeria football has fallen from the lofty height. Nigeria that once rose to the 5th position in FIFA ranking is now having a free fall. Nigerian teams now struggle to play minor footballing countries like Madagascar, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Gambia… Our premier league clubs could no longer measure up in African football competitions such as CAF Champions league, CAF cup… It’s so clear! Nigeria football fans and sponsors have long ago lost interest; our stadium are more or less empty during premier league games. Big sponsors like Coca Cola, MTN, Glo… are now looking elsewhere to meet their corporate objectives. These are signs of the end.

Indeed, this is the end of our football Political era; where government pays the piper and dictates the tune; using football administrative positions as an avenue to compensate political alleys or to level up the quota system. It’s clear that government cannot handle our football. There are many square pegs in round holes and things are not working out well.

No more should government slaughter our football on the table of Politics.

I know Emeka Nwani, one of the advocates of Nigeria football, will say, “Forget it, Nigeria government will never hands-off football in any foreseeable time.” But the signs we see today are indications. They are like tornado, wind of change, sweep through our football landscape. Government would have no choice but to hands-off football  and give it to private hands or the sport will die forever.

In most prominent footballing countries like England, Spain, South Africa, Tunisia… the sport has swiftly moved into business era; helping to employ large number of youth and creating wealth for the nation. In the world today, football is serious business, contributing significantly to a country’s GDP. We should give our people a new orientation - that will move our football from the present Political orientation to business orientation.

It’s a new dawn for Nigerian football. But the question is, can we rise to the occasion?

Government should begin the privatization process immediately and allow our football to evolve fully into a strong and vibrant business front. Government should stop funding NFF and NPL as well as state owned football clubs. We have the market large enough to fund and grow our football. Let us allow our football entities build the capacity to tap into the large football market at our disposal.

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