The Long road to Saving Nigerian Football Leagues


Football Leagues in Nigeria is a troubling conversation and while there’s a cautious optimism each season that the next term could be the first of many great ones to come, many more times those hopes have been dashed.

One among many begging questions about the “domestic league” remains, why one of Africa’s football Powerhouses has not seen as much success with its football clubs as the various National teams have been?

Late bloomers will be forgiven to think Enyimba’s back to back CAF Champions League wins were the biggest eras in Club football. But, while it could have been, unfortunately, it was the crossroads of the slump that would come.

That era marked the birth of short term government investments in football clubs; literally driving the desperation of teams to win, but they’ve not been measurable, sustainable and replicable.

Prior to the 2003 and 2004 seasons, and deep in the 70s, through to the early 90s, Nigerian teams including Shooting Stars SC, Iwuanyawu Nationale and Rangers who were the more traditional teams created very healthy competition bothering on domesticated Administrative savviness and talent growth.

The insight produced generations of fantastic footballers across the country and to a degree, equally talented trainers.

Contemporary football club administration is far from being effective, purpose driven and lacks innovation.

Those shortcomings become ever evident in the perpetual uncertainty around adopting a standard structure for running the Leagues; even resumption dates are uncertain.

Such inconsistencies have had very damaging consequences on teams and in particular the “home based” players, whose prospect of seeking better playing opportunities in bigger leagues drop dramatically.

It’s the same fate for the CHAN Eagles, the National team for players who ply their trade domestically and compete to reach the African Nations Championship, they’ve hardly measured up to their contemporaries from North Africa or even in the West African region.

In spite of the foregoing, fans want to the return of League football however the state of it.

That longing is shared by the players and Coaches too, the new media seek it as do small business owners, who profit from matchday sales outside the grounds, also look forward to the return of the leagues – an ecosystem and value chain that repeatedly gets ignored by the minds tinkering the future of the game.


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