Postponing NPFL’s season calendar will dip fans’ interest in local league, says Owolabi
Former International, Felix Owolabi, has expressed sadness over the continued postponement of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), saying it would make fans lose interest in the local league and undyingly shift focus on the established foreign ones.
The League Management Company (LMC) had set December 1 as the initial date for the 2018/2019 Nigerian Professional Football League [NPFL] season resumption and yet a new date has not be fixed for the new season.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Owolabi said it is now up to the Nigeria Football Federation and LMC to fix a date and save the nation the embarrassment of not able to organise a proper league, which had been seamless some years ago.
“The challenge I think they might be having could be as a result of funds. It is not that they don’t know the right thing to do, they do I must confess, otherwise how can a big country like ours not have competent people in charge. Or do you want to tell me that those in charge are novices, who are playing on our intelligence.
“No, not at this particular time when the world is like a global village. Everybody is aware of what goes around in the world of soccer today when it comes to various countries’ leagues and their passion for them. For instance, a typical Nigerian fan is already informed of the calendar year of the English Premier League and others,” he said.
The former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, however, added that this is not the time to apportion blames by the two bodies in charge of football administration in the country.
“If anybody is trying to put the blame on one person or the other between the NFF and the LMC, it means there is something wrong with them. But I strongly feel that the reason why the league has not kicked off was due to funds.
“We all know that all these clubs are not buoyant enough, even the NFF and LMC. The league needs sponsors, and that is why there must be an aggressive marketing to woo sponsors for the growth of the NPFL in the country.
“It is annoying and quite disheartening to hear that the Nigeria’s league today is nothing to write home about with what is happening. For example, I laugh when people make jest of the football federation particularly their decision that led to Lobi Stars being awarded the winners of the NPFL with 24 games left. It clearly shows the inefficiencies of our football administrators and I must confess that I have never seen this type of decision taken in Nigeria before even in Africa. I do not know why we are not getting it right.
“My advice is that they must sit tight and be up doing. If you are given responsibilities, it is your sole duty to ensure such responsibilities are carried out to the latter otherwise you make the clubs lose their fans to foreign leagues currently the cable network,” he stated.