NPFL And Its Shackles(1)


One needs no statistics to know the abyss state of the Nigeria Professional Football League.Decades of existence, the elite league continue to live in the imagination of its best.

Whether intended or unintended,several dates have been scheduled for the kick of 2019/2020 season and it seems the last billed date may not have the league activities animated -Don’t be surprised.

Yes ,Are you amazed? A top director in the league administrative structure recently hinted that the league commencement date looks uncertain.

Mr. Nduka Irabor is one of the independent Directors of the League Management Company(LMC),so it was just a first hand information from an insider. Few days after his submission in an event which held in Lagos ,we have not had any counter claims from anyone – incontestable!

Whose fault? Who is to be blame? I had to ask myself reading the story as it emerged.

Could it be that the teams said they are not ready for the league, This question and many alike arose in mind as i activated a much deeper reflection of the storyline.

Mr. Nduka Irabor Speech during the launch of MATCH CENTER.NG at the Victoria Island ,Lagos on 30th of September disclosed that ” some basic issues ,including the search for a robust sponsor and a broadcast outfit to cover the league are some of the things delaying the kick -off” -this is not new to us, it’s just another dimension of the known restraining order.Sigh off!

Partly, I read again “we have a Sports minister who was more worried about what money comes in to the NFF,rather than think on how to improve the standard of our league” was that not emotions in administration .was he right to question the constitutional role of the Minister? Whether he did “mis-hit” or misplaced i am not convinced!

Nduka Irabor while treating his own reality further said that ;”What we have is Independent Corrupt Practices Commission) ICPC and (Special Presidential Investigation Panel) SPIP on the neck of many people. most of the things being investigated are internal rivalry, but some people have created the impression of a different thing. The atmosphere is not okay for our league to start now .some of the people involved in the running of the league are being invited for questioning by ICPC and SPIP ,and this has made the environment not good enough “Irabor continued.

Dissecting the above speech, one would tend to ask, Should the law stop taking it’s effect ? Can’t the people on the investigation trap step aside for others to run the league? What made these environment so bad for a league to commence when investigation only tends to cover few people? Should we also forget the fact that there could always be an atom of truth in any lies and vice versa? Does he want the investigation closed? What about if the investigation continue ,our league date will also continue to be postponed? What about an established theory of different realities in social and human dynamism, as he only fed us with his own side of the story ? Did he also even try to fault the Minister for doing his job?

Let’s try to puzzle out these questions as an objective offshoot of what Mr.Irabor said, we might get to know some of the constraints holding our league back.

Part of his statement again ;
“Our local league is not popular because our football is not on television ,our stadia do not have the facilities to attract people to match venues. There is also the problem of insecurity and others at the league venues” why “Others”,Couldn’t he just listed it all.

So for over 50 years of existence, our league is yet to secure a full Television rights and packages. Who should be blame for that to?

You can’t imagine we are still having little or nonexistence deal of Television rights and packages in this age of football widening and broadening scope so cheap and approachable. The English Premier league has many media partners even at their peak; BBC Radio and Television ,Super Sports,Talk Sports and host of others.

How much of our players and coaches efforts that has practically effect some standard and beauty to our league games get portrayed and presented for the world to see? And so we expect investors to come in?

Nduka Irabor didn’t only try to vindicate himself but others too. He made attempt to manipulate most concerned that the investigation is never the right thing to do in the pressing bid to help the league and football develop. Alas ! What an insincerity.

Constitutionally, The laws of the land says one is a suspect of an offence or crime and become a criminal until proven guilty. Should Mr.Irabor just wait for the above notion to live up to its expectations or even may be otherwise. Who is really fooling who?

For the purpose of records, we are use to the kick off date saga and its uncertainty. Every moments of this interregnum has always presented rhetorics like we are yet still having them now; no sponsorship, disagreement over terms and conditions applied to the operations of the league , league format issues and many more.

Lest we forget at a time we had the league stopped abruptly in that charging moment to meet some continental demands. The team with the highest points in the middle of the league went home with the championship .Consequently,we would later played an abridged league format. Club sides have stories to tell as they paid heavily through an usual routines of technical and financial inputs for a scripted court injunctions drama the engulfed the glass house.

For somebody who has been involved in managing and sustaining the league for years now,Mr Irabor has unconsciously made us to believe he is part of the problem .

He digressed to make a justification of football and its Gross Domestic Products effects with the effort of his governing body on economic presentation to the government on how to go about the business of football. Albeit, the 2017 and 2018 attempt to secure government permanent interest with the proposals has not yielded anything.English league has Budweiser, Barclays, Tag Heuer ,Cadbury and a host of others as partners. We don’t really have any presently.

Yet, with the justification , questioning the Minister constitutional role aimed at accountability and transparency shows he seems not ready to give a show of change a life to live and as such we may still need to prepare for another vendetta in the Country football forum.

For the umpteenth time, we can’t but believe that the Minister interest to know what is going in out regarding the league ,NFF inclusive came out of sincerity and objectivity ,as a new Minister, one of his first statement is that he will grow wild inquisitive as the Sport sector he met seemed suffocating.

The Inquisition can’t just be less as he is keen to know the dynamics of the problem on ground and find lasting solution to it.

For the benefit of doubt, SPIP(Special Presidential Investigative Panel) is not the handbag of the new Minister but an initiative that has been set up before he came on board.

As much as i can see we have not gotten a developmental ladder to climb as far as the league improvement is concerned not to talk of finding a suitable ground to fix the ladder for easy ascension.

Getting a ladder is all about putting the right people at the helms of our league governing structure whilst a suitable place to fix the ladder has to be only accountability and transparency. It appears we are far from that reality.

Before I go,”MATCHCENTRE .NG is a sports enthusiast’s one-stop -shop proving up to date statistics, betting tips,predictions, and analysis covering the most relevant betting events across over 20 sports in the world”

It is also said that the MATCHCENTRE.NG “would serve as a veritable platform for getting data of footballers across the globe”.

As I draw the curtain for the first series of this piece , Don’t forget the league may not commence at the last billed date.

Yemi Sodeeq


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