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Ex Unibadan academicals salute NPFL @30, suggest way forward for Nigeria football

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By Sab Osuji

Former University of Ibadan footballers have sent words of commendation to the Nigeria Professional Football League following its 30th anniversary. 

In an extensive discussion on their WhatsApp platform on Wednesday, the Premier University academicals paid glowing tribute to the founding fathers of the league, stating that the efforts of the likes of Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief Lekan Salami, Chief Patrick Osakwe, Chief Teluwo Edewor and Chief Nathaniel Idama, amongst others, led to what we know today as the Nigerian Professional Football League.

They advised the League Management Company, LMC, to intensify efforts in ensuring that private individuals and corporate bodies returned fully to the sponsorship of clubs in the country so as to gradually disengage government’s near monopoly in running clubs in Nigeria. 

They further said that the Government should provide some initial financial assistance to clubs as is the case in Ghana and other countries while allowing the clubs to fend for themselves as done in European and other established leagues across the world.

 “Corporate organisations will confidently identify with the clubs for endorsements and sponsorship, amongst others, when they are run privately and professionally”, the former UI footballers noted.  

“The stadia should be upgraded to be fan friendly. The dressing rooms and tunnels should be upgraded to meet international standard. 

“Saunas should be provided at every stadium in the country. The field areas and sizes should also be upgraded to FIFA standard”, they suggested. 

In the area of security, they stated that to curb hooliganism, temporary holding cells should be built at each stadium to hold football hooligans that foment trouble during matches. 

“This will serve as a deterrent to others and will enhance the security around the stadia. Offenders will be kept in these holding cells until after the matches before they will be processed for immediate prosecution.

“The need for adequate publicity of matches, allowing foreign TV stations to air Nigerian matches, cooperation with foreign clubs which may involve inviting the foreign clubs to Nigeria and vice versa among other things cannot be over emphasized”.

The group also advocated for regular training and retraining of the Nigerian coaches to ensure they are in tune with modern trends in football.

“Developmental partnership should be holistic which will enable local players blend easily in the national teams, just as availability of verifiable adequate medical personnel and equipment, insurance and required professional backroom staff must be mandatory prerequisites for club registration”.

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