By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The group of Ex- Footballers of the Premier University in Nigeria, University of Ibadan has congratulated the League Management Company on the 30 years anniversary of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
The group, in an extensive discussion on their WhatsApp platform on Wednesday paid glowing tributes 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, Chief Idama, amongst others, led to what we know today as the Nigerian Professional Football League.
The group advised the League Management Company to intensify efforts in ensuring that private individuals and bodies returned fully to the management of clubs to gradually disengage government involvement in running of clubs in Nigeria. They further said that the Government should provide some initial financial assistance while allowing the clubs to fend for themselves as done in European and other established leagues worldwide.
They also said that corporate bodies will confidently identify with the clubs for endorsement and sponsorship, amongst others, when they are run privately and professionally.
They also suggested that 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 area and sizes should also be upgraded to FIFA standard.
The group went further to state that to curb hooliganism, temporary holding cells should be built at each stadium to hold football hooligans that forment trouble during football matches. This will serve as a deterrent to others and will enhance the security around the stadiums. 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 wholistic which will enable local players blend easily in the national teams.
In conclusion, they believed availability of verifiable adequate medical personnel and equipment, insurance and required professional backroom staff must be mandatory prerequisites for club registration.