The concept or idea of ‘Nigerian players’ is multi-faceted. One might just need to narrow down the scope of the discourse to the angle he or she is drawing the inspiration or ‘frustration’ as it were from.
As central as they are to the game of football, FIFA as the world football governing body has been emphatic and empathetic in all that relates with the welfarism of the players.
At the best of care ,one will see the peak of the ‘adrenaline’ effects in their performance and vice versa. Little could they do in delivery, you can test them with the best of welfarism and see the result. Any other thing can be natural but not a worthy performance.
Recent event has shown that Nigerian players need help in terms of welfarism and life insurance even while some of them have not found the courage to echo it.
The recent protest by the players of Sunshine FC of Akure is one of the many unfortunate situation where Nigerian players have had to result to the street to ask for their demands.
Alas!, football clubs in Nigeria seem to have legalised owing salaries. Many players have even died without being paid while some now roam the street in tatters and shatters- an image that doesn’t commensurate their investment.
This is not just about Sunshine Stars FC alone,players and officials of clubs like Heartland FC, FC Ifeanyi Ubah are reported to have being owed substantial part of their entitlement.
Why are they owed?
Mismanagement, maladministration, leadership ineptitude and corruption has been identified as part of the reasons why clubs failed in fulfilling the terms of contract with players.
Apart from some sizable effects of financial instability and economic downturn, financial rascality has also become an enabler for the inhumane treatment of players to persist for so long.
Who should be held accountable?
Here comes another important question as to why players are being owed. It might be difficult to quantify the negative effects of the sad phenomenon, but the large chunk of the blame have always been dropped at the feet of football administrators.
Administrators of football have constituted in no small measure to this age long problem of ‘salary uncertainty’ and there seems to be no end in sight because efforts to engender a detterent situation never survive.
However,this brings us to the question of what the League Management Company (LMC) are doing or should do in terms of protecting players interest in the scheme of things.
It falls under the purview of the LMC to see to the application of standard in the runnings of the league and in the time of breach , the body is expected to step up and rescue the situation.
It is now imperative for the league body to grow more productive in the area of players management like they have been in sanctitioning clubs with fines as a result of misconduct in match days.
Nigeria Association of Professional Footballers is the vanguard for all the players in the country. The body with handful of activities needs to brace up in fighting for their members.
And what if ?
In a situation where government owns most of the elite clubs in Nigeria, there may be need to consider the fact that government should hands off club sponsorhip.
Some football technocrats have consistenly advocated for government to leave running and sponsoring of football activities into the hands of private or corporate bodies as a way of addressing some of the attendant challenges in delivering the best of the industry.
World over, football management has proven effective and productive in hands of corporate and private realm.
In the meantime, even while not all the clubs in Nigeria are owned by government, Private clubs would also need to do enough in terms of players management and contract fulfilment.
And as I go forth and back in my submission,I do ask again-
Nigerian Players, where will thy help come from?