‘Nigerian clubs must change governance structure to compete with North Africans’
Former Super Eagles Coach, Christian Chukwu says that North African teams will continue to dominate their Nigerian counterparts until the country’s club management architecture is changed for effective financing. Enugu Rangers lost to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia home and away in their CAF Confederation Cup tie last week, just as Lobi Stars were defeated at home by Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the Champions League.
Speaking on the state of the country’s club football yesterday, Chukwu says Nigerian clubs are not well funded and therefore cannot meet the challenges posed by international football. Chukwu said if club funding was left to state governments, Nigerian clubs would continue facing the challenge of not getting the best players from within and outside the country, arguing that successful clubs spread their talent net wide.He was pointed at the constant emigration of talented Nigerians to overseas clubs, saying that structures have to be put in place to induce players to remain in the country.
Chukwu noted that North African clubs have been outshining NPFL clubs in recent times because their players and coaches get the type of treatment you can find in any club in Europe, arguing that Nigerian clubs will not grow to enviable heights if corporate bodies and individuals did not come into sponsorship.
“When the Tunisian club was coming to Nigeria, they came through a chartered flight with all machinery in place. But any time Nigerian teams want to travel they struggle for fund to even carry the complete number of players registered for the competition in commercial flights.“Again, Nigerian talented players are always moving to North Africa, Asia, North America and European leagues. If Nigerian players were well paid, they will remain here. Even foreign players will be attracted to come and play in Nigeria,” he said.
Chukwu argued that when he was still playing football, North African teams found it difficult to beat Nigerian clubs because the players were 100 percent committed to their clubs.“In the 1980s when I was playing, we didn’t have issues of players moving around, which affects the build up of a team. “Players from other countries even came to Nigeria. You cannot find that happening now because making money is the main thing on the minds of these players.
“Government has to hands off sponsoring clubs. I think Nigeria is the only country government sponsors clubs and it does not augur well for our teams.
“Individuals and corporate bodies have to help to grow Nigerian football,” he said.