Dikko reels out plans for Nigerian League

After what has been termed by many as one of the most exciting and best managed League seasons in Nigeria, chairman of the League Management Company, Shehu Dikko is already looking forward to the next one.

The Nigerian football season finally came to an end on Sunday, November 22, 2015 with Akwa United beating Nasarawa United 2-1 in the Federation Cup final but the league ended a week earlier with Enyimba emerging victors.

Chairman of the League Management Company, LMC, Shehu Dikko told NaijaFootball247.com that they really want to have the media capacity to cover all the games in the league.

“What we really want is to have the media capacity to cover all our games. Whether they are all live or just simply covered, then we can say we are getting there.

“Once we can get to that level, then the game will explode. We also want to see how we can improve our infrastructure. As soon as this is good and comfortable then I’m sure the fans would love to come back. That’s the basis and springboard we need to bring back fans,” Shehu Dikko said.

“The games may not all be live for now, but if we can have a few live games then have the rest delayed or put in a proper highlights show then we can count our gains.  Broadcast and infrastructure are key elements for an improved league,” Dikko told naijafootball247.com.

Sunday Games versus EPL

With the love of the English Premier League and other European leagues taking over Nigeria, Shehu Dikko believes it still did not do much damage to turn out at league venues and continues to preach Friday night football.

“This year, in spite of the foreign leagues, our fans turned out because the football was good.

“But we tried the Friday night games and if we can build on it, the fans will enjoy. We also want to explore free to air games so we get to a point where the fans will have a variety of games to choose from.”

NPFL invasion of the Super Eagles

When Nigeria’s Super Eagles played a World Cup Qualifying match against Swaziland, three players from the Nigerian League, Austin Oboroakpor, Chima Akas and Paul Onobi were in the starting line up while Ezekiel Bassey came on as a substitute, a development that thrilled Dikko.

“You can see we are all gloating over it. It was a crucial game for the country and many would have thought the foreign based players would be used, but these home boys featured and did very well.

“Now the players know that if they do well, they can play for the Super Eagles. Chima Akas plays for Sharks who were relegated so it means, if you are good individually you will be noticed by the national team selectors, not minding the over quality of the club you play for,” Dikko said.

Harmonizing the calender

Another top plan that has been on going in Nigeria since 2006 is to harmonize the League calendar from the current January to November program to the more recognized European August to May season but Dikko says there is no such agreement in place currently.

“The debate is on. Do we go European or maintain the current CAF Calendar? If we go European, it will be tough because CAF starts their games from February to November and if you harmonize our calendar to Europe, it means clubs on the continent will play all year round.

“It’s not for me to decide. The stakeholders will meet and we will agree on what to do,” Dikko said.

The league may just stick to its current February to November format.

Enyimba International won the League for a record 7th time while Warri Wolves finished in 2nd place and will also play in the CAF Champions League.

Nasarawa United finished 3rd and will take part in the CAF Confederation Cup.

By virtue of wining the Federation Cup, Akwa United also play in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

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