As we look ahead to the commencement of a new season in the Nigerian Football Leagues, it’s important that we see improvement at all levels. From the league organizers to the clubs and fans.
Personally I’ll love to see quality officiating in the Nigeria Professional Football League to the amateur division and I’ll love to see league venues filled to capacity but the truth is are clubs ready to attract fans?
I won’t compare what we have here in Nigeria to what is
obtainable in other countries but it’s obvious that there’s a disconnect between clubs and fans in Nigeria. In a country where football is the number one sport with no other sport insight to rival it and with a population of over 150 million people local clubs have failed to leverage on the impact of fans yet club chairmen/owners are quick to reel out series of excuses why the fans will NEVER be interested to see a local football match.
For instance, the Apex league in Nigeria,’Nigeria Professional Football League’ will have
just two private owned clubs next season participating in the twenty teams league format,ie. Giwa FC and Gabros Int’l while the other eighteen teams are government owned.
The government owned clubs have proven that the creation of these clubs is for the administrators to milk resources for personal gains while the private owned clubs are been sponsored by an individual who keeps spending without making any gain doing so and when the funds isn’t there again the club extinct. One thing similar to both government and private owned clubs is that they don’t make public their account details.
The body saddled with the responsibility of managing the NPFL, ‘ League Management Company’ is doing an interesting job trying to reposition the league on the right path, they’ve introduced some best practices and have continued to come up with interesting ideas too but wouldn’t it be nice if clubs participating in the league know the amount they’ll earn even before the season starts?
The clubs participating in the league are waiting to be spoon feed, they want the LMC to do everything for them even when an enabling environment is evident. Thanks to the internet and TV, an option the fans have maximized to the fullest. These mediums (Internet/TV ) offer fans an opportunity to get first hand information from any where in the world yet they don’t know the the clubs in the community they live in.
There is a minimal relationship between the clubs/their players and the fans. Though some clubs have made efforts but they’ve not gotten that desired response from the fans while a few clubs have assumed a position of a political party where fans/supporters looked as though they support the club but their motive differs from what we see.
The LMC have again introduce a system where clubs will earn points that will be converted to cash for clubs that record a certain number of attendance in their home games but I’m sure a larger percentage of NPFL clubs won’t earn from this system especially if they continue in their usual way.
For those clubs who are willing to attract fans to see their games; I’ll like to ask these questions: is your club available for the community where it’s based? What are your activities like outside of the pitch? How well does your players relate with the schools in the community you are based? Does your club shows it cares for the people? Does your home ground guarantees security and a full entertainment package in every home games?
If a clubs’ response to the above questions is positive then it shows that there’s a connection between the club and their fans but if otherwise then such club will continue to play in an empty stadium.