The cancelled 2019/2020 Nigeria National League season was no where the expected standard. The league in the recent times has suffered a lot of uncertainty. A regrettable situation which seems to have become an hallmark of our football.
Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba was recently made the Chairman of the second tier league in Nigeria after the death of the former Chairman, Hon. Chidi Ofo Okenwa.
He is a senator representing Ebonyi Central senatorial district in the National Assembly in Nigeria and of course a football administrator.
However in another ‘Nigerian way’ of doing things, many grabbed the opportunity of his appointment to rain heavy greetings on him, from all quarters of football industry, congratulatory messages contend each other in grammar and collocation.
Why I’m also wishing him a fulffiling service, we shouldn’t hide under the praise and worship effects and forget to ring loudly, those tasks ahead of him as we hope he turns things around for the league.
NNL presently faces scores of challenges which not only affect its growth but at the same time its productivity.
Problems ranging from its format and model, credibility, lack of sponsorhip, inconsistency of brand have all continue to weigh down the league natural weight.
I have never come across a league even of NNL level having 42 teams competing for only just three tickets space at the elite league.
The format of the league with its 2 conference model divided into 4 groups has become an heavy load on its sustainability drive. There is no gainsaying to the fact that the width and breadth of the league made it difficult for the system to swallow or even digest.
For Senator Ogba, he has to work for the enhancement of the league and the format should be his first job. He should also make sure that we don’t retain this alien model even though it can’t be altered for the upcoming season but the season after should be at least a different and usual one.
Consequently, the credibility of NNL has tumbled and thereby causing a grave concern for the process that will produce an elite teams which will make up the NPFL brand. Senator Ogba need to work alongside the stakeholders to bring about a lasting solution to the credibility hangover.
For NNL, sponsorhip has become an endemic problem since Bet9ja pulled out few years ago. The new Chairman can only have a smooth running of the humongous and artificial gigantic league with strong sponsors and he shouldn’t waste time in combing the space of the country for one, even if not many.
A quick reminder about the last season: The league was supposed to resume after an unusual Christmas and New year holiday, but up till the time Covid-19 broke out in March, it couldn’t resume due to issues reportedly to be arround sponsorhip and the failure of some teams to complete their registration.
Senator Ogba as the new Chairman has a lot to deal with beyond the sycophantic welcome he received after his appointment.