Torchbearer To The 2019/2020 NPFL Season….(1)


It is yet another time we beam our searchlight on the shape our league has taken, that is presently taking and may take as it remains an integral part of Nigeria society.

November 3rd is the new kick off date for the 2019/2020 season. The nine months struggle for clubs, players, fans and administrators will be animated as stakes would be keenly protected .

And one begins to think on how the league will fare in the detected face of its struggling fate and race against the time.

The thoughts of making the league a staple diet for its enthusiasts came to mind preferably as a start up to many other initiatives and of course should be second to non of the priorities of its administrator.

While we often thought of money bags to come in to the league, the average Nigerian citizens are not spirited with the present shape. A businessman may not be willing to invest significantly in a league that rarely enjoy the goodwill support from the citizens.

As it stands, there is need to make the league more inviting for proletariats who would by extension fill up the often scanty shapes of our stadia. The revenue would not be less mind blowing. That is approaching it from down to top and not top downward.

Similarly, match tickets can be hugely booked with its availability before the games at strategic areas of our cities, branded in high market sauce and subsidized. It even takes no long now with technology; online booking saves time.

A good view produces memories and memories attract mindstream to which a whole lot of reactions will be generated. It often become plans for many to witness matches across the nation and with that high spirit of sportsmanship, our economy gets stronger because development or transformation doesn’t obey command. They are rather effected by plans and willingness to accomplish them.

Another important aspect of the league is the referees activities. The arbiters remain indispensable to the league. It has been confirmed that the fitness test for all Premier League referees has been conducted.

Now it takes two tangles; the efforts being put into the capacity programme for referees need to be commended. It has not been a fair treatment and an impressive one according to records of the manner in which the referees are being treated by the League Management Company (LMC) and no doubt the standard of the game is practically determined by the dispensations of the arbiters.

Nigeria Referee Association(NRA) didn’t have any of her members in the last AFCON in Egypt. May be some other day the referees authority would tell us why. Many reasons abound to that awful development and as a keen vantage mind whose paramount interest is to see the league grow and the football system, I discovered that the referees chances at the continental stage doesn’t get muscled if their league seems far from standard.

Quite unfortunate that many of these referees often run into debt trying to fulfil their own demands and which in turn doesn’t commensurate with what they get at the end while some even rarely get paid. It is not progressive to get the best service from a mind who has not been really saddled for or perhaps catered for. simple!

May be few or none of these referees gets their indemnities for a season completely. It may become necessary for many upon that to compromise and abets the rules of the game in its entirety and I ask, How long will their endurance last in the face of threatening economic situations?

Whether a profession or not, naturally, it was revealed that these arbiters diagonal movements are recorded to be a major determinant of the game and of course much more than that of players during the course of playing. Their technical, physical and tactical inputs would not allow the game to slip out of control and with this demanding performance, their pockets might just need to be fill up by their employer or rather get cashed by clubs who are desperately in need of victory. So which one is goof for our league?

Presently, referees performance are being scaled base on the away winning recorded they garner to their credits. The impression is the only food for the belief that the league is slipping away from the effect of ‘Home must win syndrome’ that might not be enough.

The away win yardstick is undoubtedly an improper and informal way of their capacity or ability measurement . Why should their mastery of the laws and its effect through the whistle unbiasedly, discretions, revolt against subtle infringements and mindful appearance not speaking on their behalf. Irony indeed!

There were reports that the higher your bid the better you get. Perhaps in the face of home or away win effects and whether true or false are the allegations, the league is sitting on a gun powder if the trend is not averted and arrested.

The NRA as a matter of responsibility should protect the sanctity of the league and step up the efforts to discourage bribery in all forms by coming to terms with League Management Company in conceptualising and harmonizing significant rewards for referees for every of their assignment .

However, one is afraid with the state of no sponsor for the league, how would the stake of referees be protected. We might have little or no case of unfair performance from the referees if their indemnities are regularly paid.

The league can continue to have no standard to speak on her behalf if the standard of the game is not by far encouraged through the dispensations of the referees which only get better by an inviting pay by the League Management Company.

Yemi Sodeeq


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