Nationwide League One: A Decade Of Growth, Professionalization And Opportunities

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The Nigeria Nationwide League One (NLO) held a media briefing at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, on Wednesday April 26, 2023, to update sponsors, corporate organisations, and football stakeholders on its activities over the past decade. 

The theme of the event was “2013-2022: A Decade of Growth,” which celebrated the league’s achievements over the past 10 years while highlighting its objectives and future plans.

The NLO is Nigeria’s third-tier football league and in 2022 (the last year of the decade in question), had 344 clubs spread across the country’s six geopolitical zones and the FCT. The league provides young Nigerians with an opportunity to develop their skills and reach their full potential while promoting community, respect, inclusivity, and growth. 

With over 20,000 players, coaches, officials, and over 8,000,000 match-day attendance per season, the NLO represents a significant opportunity for businesses to achieve their objectives.

The NLO’s primary objectives are to reposition the league as a key resource base for other local and international leagues, professionalize its operations, and generate interest from corporate organizations. 

To achieve these objectives, the league has adopted a growth strategy anchored on good corporate governance, administration and management reforms, implementation of reforms in its season operations, and activation of strong brand-building initiatives.

According to Olushola Ogunnowo, NLO’s Chief Operating Officer, “Our goal is to make NLO the access market for grassroots football in Nigeria and the youth football target market. We aim to produce the highest number of youths participating in the NLO at the grassroots level and continue to strive for and maintain official recognition of the Youth League from FIFA and increased interest from foreign clubs because of our Youth League.”

Ms. Nkechi Obi, NLO’s Marketing Consultant over the past decade, emphasized the importance of NLO’s success in becoming recognized as the access market for grassroots football in Nigeria. She stated that “NLO Product Consolidation is driven by deliberate brand optimization and value chain development, partnerships, and sustainable community engagement, as well as media activations and content creation.” She also stated that full details of NLO’s 2023-2032 Decade of Consolidation will be made public at the Official Unveiling of NLO Partners and Season Activation Plans in May.

From 2023 Season, NLO will have only Two Divisions instead of three with Divisions II and III merged into the Youth League. 

The new NLO will feature 420 Clubs, kicking off on May 3rd with a Season Opening Game to be played at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano and feature Kano Pillars Jnr against Kwankwasiya United FC in what promises to be a cracking game.

The NLO has made significant progress in achieving its objectives over the past decade, with the league becoming the highest exporter of talent to foreign leagues. 

However, the league aims to do more, and with its growth strategy, it intends to professionalize its operations and generate more interest from corporate organizations. 

NLO is committed to its primary objectives and its vision to provide young Nigerians with the opportunity to develop their skills and reach their full potential while promoting community, respect, inclusivity, and growth.

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