Everyone knows about the European football leagues (English premier league, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, etc.) but it’s actually about 15% of football loving Nigerians who follow up the Nigeria Premier League and I can understand why the Nigerian Premier League is hardly watched. A domestic league that has been struggling since it’s inception in 1972 and only got a boost when Globacom Limited became it’s official partner (Hence it was renamed Glo Premier league at some point). The League has been rocked with various levels of match fixing, match score like 13-0, 12-1 and even most recently 69-0 and 79-0 have rocked the league and with the financial problems getting to an all time low this season, the league is just hanging on to its dear life.
Anyway leaving the obvious negatives of the NPL behind, I’ll like to point positives from the Nigerian Premier League. For those who don’t follow the league here is a bit of information, it was recently re-branded from it’s “Nigeria Premier League” name tag to “Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)”
The International federation of football history and statistic (IFFHS) recently named the NPL the strongest league in Africa and 24th strongest league in the world (Woah! Right) I went into a deep research cos’ I was shocked to see that a league where nothing seems to be working properly would just jump to the 24th strongest league in the world maybe the IFFHS are drunk maybe. Quite spectacularly the IFFHS are spot on with their assessment and even if the league administrators are one hell of a group it hasn’t stopped the football on the pitch from being recognised. The last two seasons of the league have seen the fixtures go down to week 38 before the winners were decided and thats one glaring quality of a strong league. In a bid to make the league work better the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) set up thel League Management company (LMC) some time last year. If the NPL had better administrators we could even be challenging the EPL, Ligue 1 etc to the strongest league in the world spot, but till then that’s all a dream.
Another Positive in the league is the Sani Abacha stadium. You’ll need to be there to witness the large turn up of fans in any game Kano Pillars play on that Stadium. I’ve been there once and the experience was Amazing! Such a large turn-out just to cheer up the team. No wonder Kano pillars keeps doing well in the league. Pillars have gone a decade without losing at home (Beat that Dear Chelsea FC :-P) Julius Berger were the last club to inflict a defeat on Kano Pillars on their own ground on June, 21, 2003 Pillars the game 1-2 and the driving force behind the world breaking streak is the home fans support. In spite of the insecurity in the state, the fans still turn up to see their games. Now that’s what I call motivation.
There are quite some positives from the league as there are galaxies of Negatives but one thing is always certain and that’s IMPROVEMENT. If the NPL Board and the League Management Company can forge a good partnership and bring revolutionary ideas into the league, we might just have a league that can challenge big European leagues in the future (By Future i mean 10-20 Years) . Cheers