Why don’t we celebrate Nigerian League players?

By Ikechukwu Chukwu

A whole lot has been put in place to make the Nigerian League more interesting than it was the previous season by the League Management Company (LMC).

However, the main actors of the league itself has to be the players.

This write up focuses on the Nigerian league player and why he is not considered a celebrity unlike their counterparts in Europe.

The League Is Not Attractive

An average English Premier League game has a packed stadium unlike what is attainable in the NPFL where aside a few stadia in the country like Kano ( Kano Pillars), Aba ( Enyimba), Akure Township Stadium and lately the Agege Stadium where MFM FC play, most other teams cannot boast an average crowd of 3000 people per matchday.

This makes it difficult for most people to know the players playing for these teams not to even talk of idolizing them. A typical Nigerian football fan would prefer to watch two average EPL teams to watching an NPFL game.

Publicity Of The League

In as much as the local media is doing its best to help publicise the league, much still needs to be done to help re-orientate Nigerians to fully support the local league teams.

Match previews are really not done properly unless the big teams are involved, players are not being profiled properly etc.

Player transfers are very useful in building interest in a particular league because if supporters know how much a player is worth and what he earns, it will make people want to watch them in the league this the media do not do properly but the media can also work with the information gotten from the clubsides of which we know that is limiited due to these clubs not having a proper working and up to date websites.

Players Not Being Able To Market Brands

In as much as i hate comparisons, it helps to distinguish what and who’s better. We see over in Europe where footballers are used as poster faces for major brands from automobile companies to telecommunication companies, banks etc.

But such endorsements is not attainable in the NPFL where we have majority of these brands staying away from the league itself not to mention sponsoring individual teams or players.

In South America, we see up to three companies sponsoring a particular player but an NPFL  player cannot even get just one sponsor.

Players Themselves Not Feeling Like Big Shots

Most NPFL players themselves do not feel like celebrities themselves because they dont see themselves as one.

Most of them are camera shy, dont live in mansions, cant express themselves properly etc which makes their fans, cooperate organizations, media etc not appreciate them the way they should be.

These are just a few of the challenges that the Nigerian league player  faces but lots can be done to remedy the situation and give these players the limelight they duely deserve.

These are some of the solutions i feel could bring a change to this situation.

Terrestial TV should be involved in the league

Cable TV has done a whole lot in improving the standing of the Nigerian league by giving Nigerians the priviledge of watching their favorite teams on screen with high quality coverage and by also making the LMC mandate all clubsides to upgrade their stadia to be TV friendly but without terrestial Tv getting involved, a whole lot of Nigerians still would not get that opportunity to view the league.

Not many Nigerians can afford to watch Cable TV and would therefore miss the opportunity of viewing the league but with terrestial tv involved, that need will be met because terrestial tv needs to subscription and that way accord lots of fans to watch the league and generate interest in some players they fancy.

Active Publicity Of The League By Individual Clubsides

Publicity does a whole lot in improving the standard and acceptibility of a product and Nigerian clubsides should use this avenue to promote their clubsides, brands, players etc.

Information dissemination helps build peoples interest and if these clubsides have a proper working websites with up to date activities of the club, history of the club, player profiles etc, it will go a long way to provide fans of these clubs with the necessary information they need about their favorite players.

Matchday programmes can be made by these clubs with a player of the team headlining the focus of the day.

Social media is also very key nowadays in helping to publicize the league with millions of people visiting these sites on a daily basis, if these clubsides can harness and properly utilize this medium not just to update livescores on matchdays alone but be active every single day on these platform with activities of thier players, it will help to generate interest in these players.

Incentives For The Fans To Come To The Stadium

One way of bringing the fans back to the stadium is by giving them incentives like conducting a lottery at halftime or at the end of the game with the winner getting to win mega gifts like plasma tvs or generating sets. If fans know they stand a way of winning gifts, they would troop to the stadium to watch games. The players of these clubsides should be the ones presenting the gifts to the fans that way the fans get to cherish and appreciate them.

Consistency Of The Players

Overtime in the Nigerian league weve seen players have one great season but they never get to remain the the league the next season that way reducing the quality of the league.

If we get to keep the best players in the league overtime, the popularity of these players will generate interest in the league both by the fans and coperate bodies that way some of these players might even get cooperate sponsorship which will even make them bigger stars in the league and therefore command followership by the fans.


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  1. Well said! I believe we will get there, but our club ownership structure still needs to be looked into.