2 December 2012

Nigeria: Start Premier League Now


The Nigerian Premier League (NPL) for the 2012/2013 session is yet to begin after four clear months it ought to have commenced. The implication is that the yearly event that is organized by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is running behind schedule.

Worse still, all the 20 participating teams and their players are redundant due to the inaction. Beside these teams in the premier league, there are other teams in the amateur divisions this unresolved impasse has also affected the kick-off of their session.

The Aminu Maigari-led NFF in collaboration with the National Sports Commission (NSC) chaired by the minister of sports have exhibited an intolerable level of negligence of the game. The effect of this delay will definitely have a negative impact on the teams participating in continental championships.

It is unacceptable that the board of the NFF cannot find a lasting solution to the problems bedeviling the NPL. The minister of sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi should ensure that the nation's fortunes in sports especially football does not nose-dive under his watch.

For instance, all the teams that qualified to represent the country in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) organized competitions for 2012/2013 would likely under-perform due to the absence of the domestic league action. This, perhaps, explains why no Nigerian club has won any of the competitions since 2004 when Enyimba International Football Club of Aba won that year's competition.

The national teams coaches are worse hit by this development. It is most unlikely that the Super Eagles coach, Mr. Stephen Keshi would be favourably disposed to deploying the players in the NPL in prosecuting next month's AFCON competition billed for South Africa due to lack of action for these promising players.

The coach is now left with no option than relying on the foreign based professionals who will arrive the camp a few days to the tournament. The same fate awaits the coach of the Flying Eagles, Mr. John Obuh in prosecuting next month's final qualifiers for the U-20 World Cup. Eighty percent of the composition of his team ply their trade in the domestic league.

We are worried by the poor managerial standards of the local league. Because it is poorly organized, it hardly attract sponsors; the participating teams do not receive their requisite grants; the players are poorly remunerated; while patronage is very low.

This should not be so! Zambia won the last edition of AFCON with a team that comprised of players from its domestic league.

Until recently, Egypt ruled African football with players that ply their trade in its local league. The South African league is now the preferred destination for most African players because of its organization.

The NSC and the NFF as a matter of challenge must bring the Nigerian league back on track by starting the 2012/2013 session now!

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