The state of Nigeria football is a review of the highpoints of the football industry in Nigeria, Abbeylivenetwork.com reports.
This is just an opinion based review and doesn’t represent official statement in any way. This article marks your 63rd independence.
Nigeria football got some global attention this year with the Fifa women’s world cup Australia/New Zealand, where Nigeria’s Super Falcons for the first time finished in the round of 16 without loosing a match in regulation time. The Nigerian ladies even defeated the host team, Matildas of Australia.
Super Eagles of Nigeria already qualified for African cup nations with Victor Osimhen finishing as the highest goal scorer with 10 goals.
Victor Osimhen have continued to be the face of Nigeria football in the global front with some extraordinary performances last season. He scored 26 goals and led Napoli to win Seria A trophy after 30 years. Some pundits have said it is incontrovertible, Victor Osimhen will be the African player of the year 2023.
They said Nigeria are likely to win double in this year Caf awards, both in the men and women category. With Assisat Oshoala scoring 18 goals for Barcelona Femeni despite nursing injury for most of the season and leading Nigeria Falcons to the round of 16 at the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup. Although, some analysts said Oshoala faces stiff competition from South Africa’s Banyana Banyana queen, Thembi Kgatlana.
The New Sports Minister
Most stakeholders in the sports sector have expressed doubts over John Enoh’s appointment as the new sports minister. Reactions have continued to pour in as many sports-loving Nigerians express surprise at appointment with a man that doesn’t have sports pedigree. “This is a typical example of square peg in a round hole. ”
Well, some others have said the Cross River State-born farmer and politician, will bring his wealth of political and business experience as the Minister of Sports Development. We are still watching to see which direction he will take.
The rave of the moment
Sporting Lagos bringing some new spark to the Nigerian league being the first club to gain promotion to Nigeria’s elite League NPFL in just eight months of its existence. Sporting Lagos FC were founded by Shola Akinlade, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Paystack, in February 2022. Earlier this year, he also purchased 55 percent ownership shares in Aarhus Fremad, a Danish third-tier division club.
Flykite near perfect organization of Naija Super 8 shew us that sports in Nigeria should be run by business oriented individuals. The Super 8 is a fan-based pre-season football tournament that offers millions of Naira as incentives to participating clubs. Three million naira appearance fee for all participating clubs and 25 million naira for the winner.
The inaugural edition of the tournament was live on Supersports from the playoffs at Akwa Ibom stadium to the finals between Remo Stars and Sporting Lagos at Mobolaji Bank Anthony stadium Lagos were sold out. (Who say fans would not to go stadium to watch Nigerian league, not when they we’ll organized.
GTI/IMC are prepared to run a full 2023/24 season away from the abridged format last season. The league will be streamed on NPFLive App, Over-The-Top (OTT) media service and are likely to come with the league title sponsor. IMC are also looking at improving winner prize from N150 million to N200 million.
The big issue that still needs urgent attention is that state governments should stop wasting taxpayers’ money on the funding of football clubs. They should restrict themselves to providing infrastructure for football development.
Sadly, when the 2023/2024 NPFL season kicks off hopefully on September 30th, only two private clubs, Remo stars and Sporting Lagos would be involved. The rest are the government-owned clubs that always complain of inadequate funding.
Nigeria Women’s League
The Board of Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) rolled out plans to achieve an improved women’s leagues for 2023/24 season and beyond, with several initiatives aimed at capacity building,
‘Class to Pitch’ initiative which is designed to develop players, coaches and referees capacity by engaging them in different trainings. Other initiatives includes, ‘Football and the Girls Child’ and ‘He for She’ advocacy aimed at tapping into the vast network to help raise funds for the successful implementation of different programmes of women football in the country. .
Is NFF the Problem or the Solution?
The question that play out this year, one begin to wonder if the NFF officials are causing the problem instead of providing solutions. The non payment of Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum and the non- support of the team preparation for the world cup. The Super Falcons players and coach move to expose the corruption at the glasshouse; demanding FIFA pay their appearance fees direct to the players individual bank accounts or else the money will be made away, if enters the hands of NFF officials.
Despite knowing that Randy Waldrum and his coaching hold the key to improvement and future success of Super Falcons, they refuse to renew the coaches contract.
The national team coaches now resort in seeking for Nigerian descents abroad for National team assignments, since there’s total break down in domestic football development. The NFF does not have a clear direction on football development plan for any period of time.
Football development remain stall
The implementation of former Sports Minister Sunday Dare’s 10 years football masterplan 2022 – 2023 and its 15 areas of recommendations are yet to take off.
Presently, Nigerian domestic players are hardly selected for National team assignments due to low standard. Nigeria clubs could not compete successfully in continental tournaments as both Enyimba and Remo stars have already been eliminated from 2023 Caf Champions League.