STATE OF FOOTBALL IN NIGERIA: Business is Looking Up at 53 Independent Anniversary

 This year 2013, things are beginning to look up for football business in Nigeria. We must commend the President, Goodluck Jonathan, for his efforts to get every sector of the economy running. National Sports Commission (NSC) and indeed, Nigeria football Federation (NFF) are beginning to get their arts together.

Nigeria National Team
The appointment of Stephen Keshi, as senior National team coach has paid off. He has succeeded in building a Super Eagles team Nigerians are excited about. This year alone, the team has won African Nations cup and Mandela Challenge trophy. The team has also qualified for CHAN, for the first time, as well as qualified for 2014 FIFA World Cup play off.

Nigerians are so excited and hopeful that the country’s flag will be hoisted in Brazil. And with the way fans are currently responding to the national team shows there will be lots of open opportunities for businesses to make money if Super Eagles eventually qualify for the World Cup.

Nigeria Football League

With the establishment of Nduka Irabor led League Management Company (LMC), NFF has succeeded in dousing the unending court cases that has greatly tarnished the image of Nigeria Premier League.

You wouldn’t think that the changes will come automatic in one year. LMC has begun a 5 years reformation program for the elite league. Indeed, such transformation is bound to affect other rank of the leagues.

First, Glo Mobile Network has taken up the sponsorship of the league once again. Although, we’re not sure what the title right is called now – “Glo Professional Football League” or Glo Premier League.” However, all clubs in the league have received their own share of the sponsorship deal.

Eight teams in the elite league also close a shirt sponsorship deal with Dubic Lager and Harp Lager respectively. There are signs that more will get shirt sponsorship deal before the next league season.

Two local sports wear companies, Joma and Owu, now sponsor Enyimba , 3SC and MFM respectively. We hope to see more sponsorship deals as the transformation agenda unfolds.

Federations Cup
Lagos state government voluntary sponsorship of the Federations cup has given the competition a new lease of life. We must also commend the governor, Babtunde Raji Fashola, who donated the new trophy.

The glamour of the Federations cup is gradually returning back with all razzmatazz Lagos state government usually put together at the finals.

Stadium Attendance
Nigeria fans are gradually coming back to the stadium to attend matches. UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar has become haven for the national team and fans even pay to throng into their training session. The 18, 000 capacity is usually filled up anytime Super Eagles is playing.

Teslim Balogun is another stadium that get filled to capacity during Federations cup Semi and final games in Lagos.

Places like Sanni  Abacha  stadium Kano, Warri Township Stadium and Enyimba International stadium Aba are already getting lot of attendance during league games. Soon clubs will start making money again through ticket sales.

Grassroots Developmental Football

Grassroots football has enjoyed more attention from corporate organizations this year. Perhaps, due to the rancor at the league level, many corporate organizations have resorted to organize their own tournaments for talent hunts. You can name them:  Copa Coca cola, Milo Future Champions clinic, Gulder-5-Aside, AIrtel Football tournament…

This Year, Shell /NNPC still maintained the sponsorship of all secondary school football competition across the country. But NUGA and NIPOGA haven’t enjoyed such sponsorships.
Football Academies are springing up without many regulations. However, Pepsi Academy and Kwara State Football Academy are the only standard academies graduating lots of footballers already.

Mass Exodus of Footballers
Most players that graduated from these academies don’t actually get recruited into the league. There’s this mass exodus of young players seeking to play top flight football abroad. But with the transformation of the local league in progress, we hope in the near future some of these players would stay to strengthen the league.

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