How the Nigeria Professional Football League can help the National Team and Boost the Economy
Football is by far the favorite sport of all Nigerians. The passions and emotions that go into this sport whenever it is happening are always extraordinary.
There are very few streets in the whole of the country where there is no mini football field for footballers of different age. We are so passionate about this sport that it is one of the few things that unite us as a nation. Whenever the Super Eagles of Nigeria is playing everyone is watching and emotional.
Visit any viewing center during a football match and see how Nigerians are passionate about their football club, they go the extra mile in their support for teams that is far away and you will wonder why no one is supporting our local league like this.
It is estimated that there are over 8 million fans of different European club side in Nigeria but fewer people care about the Nigeria Professional Football League.
It has been established that Nigerians are passionate about football both the national team and club side but only a few are passionate about the domestic league. This same passion can be used in our local league if the standard is good enough.
I remember years ago when Enyimba FC of Aba was doing us proud at the CAF Champions League everyone loved and supported them. Enyimba won the CAF Champions League two times in 2003 and 2004 and people were passionate when it is time to watch them play.
Football is no more just a sport but a huge source of income for countries all around the world, a source of employment and used by most countries to boost their economy. Here are some of the ways the NPFL can help the country.
Source of Income for government
The EPL generates £4.464bn in TV right from 2019 – 2022, The South African League generates $277 million in TV rights while the NPFL generates only $34million from 2015 – 2019 this is not that good considering the population of the country and the passion for the sport. A lot of money will also be made in terms of sponsorship and Jersey sales. I believe if the Nigerian government through the sports ministry work on improving this league. It can become a huge source of income for the country.
Considering the unemployment statistics in Nigeria, the NPFL can reduce to a certain extent. Football league creates job opportunities such as Stadium Usher, Security Officer, Referee, Trainer, Broadcast Engineer, Human Resources, Statistician, football analyst and several other direct or indirect employment.
Improve our National team
A good domestic league will supply several local talents that will, in turn, become national team players.
If the NPFL is developed then it will improve our national team squad as we will be able to integrate local-based player to the team easily. English team comprises 100% of the home-based player.
Dominate in Africa
It is no doubt that Nigeria is one of the best footballing nations in Africa but due to the poor state of our league, we are not consistent in Africa. Nigeria has only won the CAF Champions League twice since inception and this is due to poor state of our local league. We can dominate Africa football in club football and national team football. Enyimba was able to win the only 2 CAF Champions League because of the support of the then governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu. If all the team in the league can get the same support then we can dominate in Africa.
These are some of the few ways the NPFL can improve the Nigerian football and help the economy there are other ways it can be helpful for general development.
All the government have to do is invest more into the league and make sure there are professional hands in charge of things and the domestic league will be a great economy booster.