NPL or NPFL, 50 Million Nigerian Fans Still Laugh At the Caricature League

“LMC can’t be serious if it thinks that what matters most is changing of the league name to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). I’m more comfortable calling it GLO Premier League or Nigeria Premier League (NPL).” Charles Ojugbana reacted on Channels TV evening show ‘today Sports.’

It’s no secret in sport business that as long as the larger Nigeria football market still treat the local league with derision, League Management Company (LMC) hasn’t succeeded in their assignment.

May be, it’s too early to judge, we should give them time to put their acts together. But there are reasons to challenge some of the actions they took in the just concluded league season.

LMC coming up with policies without consulting the clubs; making hasty decisions on controversial match deadlocks between clubs; misinterpreting their own laws and giving banishment leniency to clubs involved in referees battery and stadium disturbances, was enough proof to everyone else that they just didn’t get it.

This is the problem, administrative flops and why over 50 million Nigerian fans laugh to scorn at the kind of caricature league we run in this country. It’s more disheartening to watch these fans investing financially and emotionally in English Premier League and supporting clubs thousands of miles away.

But things are beginning to look up this year. Global com has taken up the league sponsorship once again and for the first time, LMC disbursed to participating clubs N208 million to share in the sponsorship deal.

The league season also came to an exciting and dramatic end, as Kano Pillars emerged champions once again. But this time the team will be receiving N10 million prize money for the trophy; something different from last year.

 It’s good for business when for instance, GLO and MTN fight over sponsorship rights. It means that the sponsorship bid will go higher and it would be more money for both LMC and the clubs.

But that can only happen if LMC can cultivate the Nigerian fan base and stroke there interest towards the local league. We all long to see once again, back in the days when in a match between 3SC Vs Rangers, the stadium seats are filled to capacity hours before the game start. This will indeed revive ticket sales as another veritable source of revenue for the clubs.

Maybe, we should give LMC another year or two to put their house in order. But LMC Chairman, Nduka Irabor, has earlier outlined a 5 years plan to turn around Nigeria’s elite league.

LMC must quickly grow in strength and stature to be able to tackle the Home Advantage Syndrome and corrupt practices that has long bedeviled the league.  It must start as soon as possible to promote and build a very passionate local fan base. It’s time to go to work.

At least, let Nigerian fans stop laughing the league to scorn and begin to see it from a more serious disposition.

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