The success of any football club in Nigeria largely depend on how powerful the team manager is. We call them TM! But my friend George Adeshua said I should give it the right designation. It is “Club Chairman” and not “Team Manager.”
In Europe, the team’s head coach is actually the one referred to as “Team Manager.” But here we are discussing about the chairman of a club’s management board. He is more or less the Chief Executive Officer of the club. He hires and fires, raise funds and manage the resources of the club.
We are looking at club Chairmen in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) that are powerfully connected, effective and has what it takes to deliver success for their club, especially in the on-going 2016 season.
After scanning through the league, we at GreenHunters Sports International, were able to select what we might call the 5 Most Powerful and Effective Club Chairmen in NPFL.
1. Felix Anyansi-Agwu,Chairman Enyimba International FC is perhaps the most powerful club chairmen among the lot in Nigeria today. He rose to prominence by managing a relatively obscure club in Aba and turn it to the best in Nigeria and one of the very respected team in the continent of Africa.
Anyansi-Agwu has the record of being the only Chairman in Nigeria that has led his team to a CAF Champions League Victory. You can recall that Enyimba won the trophy back to back in 2003 and 2004 edition.
Anyansi-Agwu completely understands football politics and he’s ever ready to play ball both at the local and continental level.Enyimba success depend so much on this man. The club has remain on high since his reign as the club chairman – 14 years running now.
Anyansi-Agwu is so relied upon to the point that when he tried to resign from the position in 2014, both the government of Abia state and the entire Aba fans rejected his resignation and urged him to stay on.
Today, he doubles as Enyimba Chairman and the Head of NFF technical committee.
2. Ibrahim Haruna, Chairman Kano Pillars FC is another very powerful club chairman in Nigeria today. He is described as the only man that can twist the hands of Kano state governor to disburse one of the best welfare package for his team players.
This season, Kano Pillars is one of the few teams in Nigeria that fly by air when going for away matches. Haruna led the team to virtually dominate the Nigerian Premiership, winning the league three consecutive season in 2011/12; 2013 and 2014.
He one chairman that can play Nigeria football politics very well. Some managers has accused him of winning the league severally by obtaining a lot of boardroom points for his team.
Haruna managerial results are so glaring that he was called back to serve the club after his resignation in 2015. They could not just let this great chairman go. For instance, Kano Pillars hold the record of unbeaten home run since June21, 2003 (13years running).
Haruna’s managerial ability is greatly appreciated by the fans and he has the power to mobilize the whole youth in Kano. Pillars remain the only club in Nigeria today that regularly attract fans to fill the 25,000 capacity Sani Abacha Stadium anytime the team plays at home.
3. Chukwuma D.Uba, Chairman FC IfeanyiUba (Former GabrosFC), may be a new entrant into football management in Nigeria, but his vast experience in business, with the backing of his billionaire cousin Ifeanyi Uba, puts him head and shoulders above many other Chairmen in NPFL.
D.Uba has shown so much passion for the game, driven by the vision to deliver a world class football club that will be the very best in Africa. This season, he went as far as importing six Brazilian players and a foreign coach Mitko Dobrev – the only club in Nigeria to have go that far.
For me, it can even predict that FC IfeanyiUba are more likely to win the league this season. The team is better motivated with such a mouth watering players and staff welfare package.
I can well say D.Uba has more than enough funds in his disposal and he is ever ready to play ball at any level of football politics, not just in Nigeria but across the globe.
4. Godwin Enakhena, Chairman MFM FC could be regarded as the most effective club chairman in Nigeria today. He may not be that a ‘big-wing’ as the previous three chairmen mentioned above, but Enakhena knows his onion.
He grew through the ranks as a sport journalist and a sport marketing practitioner,with his private out fit Global Sports Ltd. Enakhena has diligently guided MFM FC from the nationwide league to the national league and now robbing shoulders with teams like Enugu Rangers, Kano Pillars at the top of the league.
Enakhena being a devoted member of Mountain of Fire and Miracles church, was personally chosen by the General Over seer, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, the sole financier of the club.
As a veteran sport journalist, Enakhena can always find his way around Nigeria Football terrain and politics involved. He is better informed and equipped to guide MFM FC to the next level.
Having the backing of General Overseer and millions of “MFM prayer warriors,” it may be very difficult to bring the team down or shovel them aside in the Nigerian elite league – MFM FC has come to stay!
5. Dominic Iorfa, Chairman Lobi Stars (former BCC Lions) is a very passionate club chairman. As an ex-international, Iorfa played football at the highest level and understands what it takes to succeed in the Nigerian football terrain.
Lobi Stars may not have enjoyed the kind of funding Kano Pillars or Enyimba enjoys from their state government, but Iorfa has made the difference for the club. Since he took over as chairman of the club 8 years ago in 2008, Lobi Stars has been on high as always among the title contenders in both NPFL and the FA cup at every season.
Iorfa’s experience in both playing and coaching the game has made him an indispensable support for coach Justin Tenger, especially in technical matters.
Iorfa isn’t just passionate about Lobi Stars but has been a front runner in the crusade for the revival NPFL,and make it best league in Africa.