Win or burst: CHAN Eagles need to prove league merit
And it’s that familiar knife edge moment again, where a Super Eagles team is condemned to win or things might go sideways. Perhaps to lesser extents, as the CHAN team is seen as a second rate team, a ‘B’ side to the ‘main’ Super Eagles. But the effect will be more damning to the credence and perception of the Nigeria Professional Football League.
The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is a FIFA-recognised tournament that involves African players that play in their domestic leagues, simply put, an AFCON with players representing the League they play in if they have the country’s passport.
Nigeria’s CHAN team disappointingly came back without a point from Cotonou’s Stade l’Amite against a Beninese side that just had their League restarted after a two-year hiatus. For all of the efforts and background string pulling of the League Management Company (LMC), the League’s worth or progress is actually going to be judged when the viewing public see its exponents – the footballers, strut their stuff on the pitch.
Apart from playing to qualify, good, entertaining, quality football will up league interest thereby improving the marketability of players and league. Dismal performances will show off the LMC as a bunch of failures who cannot produce footballers worthy of the Super Eagles.
There are teams that play truly amazing football in the League. MFM FC’s quick and incisive passing with the ball has ensured the Soccer Temple at Agege, Lagos gets high capacity crowd regularly especially when a formidable opponent is around. Akwa United’s brand of football under Abdu Maikaba is equally impressive with their midfield trio good enough to make it unbroken into the CHAN camp. Even bottom feeders, Remo Stars espouse an attacking brand that is appealing to the eye regardless of their results.
The League is not helped by the fact that most games are not beamed on live television, and there’s the feeling that the fixture that will be on television this weekend has to do with the CHAN Eagles’ match a day before the Kano Pillars host Abia Warriors.
It is really damning that the first game most league followers will get to see Plateau United – a side that has been glued to the top of the table since Matchday 19 – is the last game of the season and that is if they end up champions. The T.V cameras really do need to cover the trophy presentation.
What was the title-defining fixture between Plateau United and MFM FC went without airtime and matchday action was limited to tweets coming from different handles on Twitter?
There’s still so much work for the League administrators to do to take the League to the tip-top at least in Africa but the current onus is on the CHAN Eagles, the adjudged best Nigerian legs in the NPFL, to deliver come Saturday at Kano, in the second leg of the qualifier against Benin republic. The ball’s at your feet, lads.
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