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Nigerian football has become stagnant, says Esin

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Nasarawa United’s Emmanuel Ogbole (jersey No 34) tries to beat two Lobi Stars’ players, Samad Kadiri and Desmond Agbekpom during a recent NPFL match. Etim Esin says Nigerian football is stagnant. Photo: NPFL


Former International, Etim Esin, has expressed concern over the state of football development in the country when compared to the growth of entertainment industry, saying that the game has stunted and needed a turnaround for it to be brought back to life.

Britain, Spain, Italy among others benefit immensely from broadcast revenue accruing from TV rights and also sales of souvenirs, which bring stability to the monetary health of clubs and players alike.

Esin stated that football as a sport was making so much money in the past to the envy of others but that it has now become stagnant why entertainment is now flourishing.

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Speaking with The Guardian at the weekend, Esin said the reason why the South Africans don’t fancy going to Europe to play football was because everything needed to make life conducive for them have been provided, making them contented and concentrate on developing their skills for bigger prospect.

“Football has stopped growing in this country, but look at the entertainment industry, it has gone far. Before, it was football that was the envy of others in this country.

“The time has come when the corporate bodies need to come and be involved in moving our football forward. They actually have the impetus to change the face of the Nigerian football professionally. This is because there is a lot of money to be made in the game,” he said.

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The former AA Gent and Lokeren of Belgium player queried why the corporate world was not taking advantage of the money-spinning sport to better the lots of Nigerians. “I wonder why people are not taking football as a big business in the country. It is a problem we must address. And how do you make this to come to reality? We have to bring in the ex-Internationals on board.

“These people have the International influence and exposure. They have former teammates, who are in Real Madrid, Manchester United etc. With them, we can build a platform here in the country,” he said, adding that the reason why the South African footballers don’t rush to Europe for greener pasture at the detriment of their career, was because they are okay with what they are paid.

“Have you heard of South African players rushing to Europe to play football when the time was not right.? It is because they have built their own platform, and they are contented. At this stage, for us to still remain where we are when others have gone far is sad. But I just hope we will get there some day,” he stated.

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