WHICH WAY FOR THE NPFL?

FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Playing football under flood flights on a cool evening can be very exhilarating to the fans as the hot weather witnessed during the day would have considerably reduce to the barest minimum. This is what the fans experienced  at the  ultra-modern Godswill Akpabio International Stadium when Akwa United played Nasarawa United on the 25th of September 2015 in what has gone down in history as the first official night league match broadcast live on TV to millions of viewers across the continent. The League Management Company under the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation’s second Vice-President, Alhaji Shehu Dikko has made tremendous effort in making the league attractive to fans all over the nation. This must be applauded and it is a very positive growth in our league. Fast forward to 2016 season and we have seen how fans have thronged the stadia in different cities, from Uyo to Lagos to Enugu for these friday night games.

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The management of Rangers international  FC of Enugu had to specifically request for more night games from the LMC and their official TV broadcast partners, Supersport after seeing the massive turn out of fans when they held their own night league match in Enugu on the 22nd of April this year.
Need i say more about the tremendous benefits night league games bring to the league? Apart from raking in more money from  the gates, fans can also relate with the excitement of the league, get involved with support for their darling teams and by so doing bringing the league closer to them. We know that the average Nigerian football fan has a team or two they support in the English Premier league and will always want to watch them play rather than watch a local league match that falls on  the same time belt; with the advent of these night games, there is an ample opportunity for the fans to gain on both sides if the local league match on TV is played at night. If the objective of the Nigeria Professional Football League is to grow the game, there is no gain saying to the fact that night games will be suitable for the fans.

ON IKORODU UNITED PALAVA

Too many spoon they say spoil the broth. Such is the case of the Ikorodu United who have had four managers in less than a year. Yes, football is about firing and hiring but they have had one too many. Theodosius Jacob de Jong has a lot of work to do with his new club. I think its even way beyond him for this season. What they need to start doing now is to plan for the future and how fast they can navigate their way back from the Nigeria National league. They need to retain some of their key players and to do it, they would need a lot of convincing. But if the proper incentives are put into place, these marquee players can stay and fight for promotion back to the top flight.

Ikorodu United
The new manager needs to start planning life in the lower tier more than anything else. Forget all the talks about trying to steer them away from relegation, its a little too late for them. The 68- year old coach can, with his experience with lowly clubs that he has managed in the past (Willem 11, FC Zwolle, SC Cambuur and Go Ahead Eagles), lead the ‘oga boys’ back to the top flight if given the free hand and conducive environment.

THUGS IN THE NPFL

The MFM vs Shooting Stars match last weekend was an eyesore to viewers and spectators at large and the league body must stem this cancerous trend before it takes our league backward. Punishment meted out to these erring clubs must be followed duly and culprits should be apprehended to face the law. Enough of the carrot; its time for the stick. LMC must be firm on decisions taken to further forestall these events from happening in the future.
And for the NFF Referee committee who in their wisest decision decided to retire Alaba Abiodun who officiated the match and was clearly assaulted by the home team, I think that is way too harsh. He may have been reprimanded last season for bad officiating but retiring him is the least thing expected from the football house. I hope punishments meted out to offenders will be in line with how grievous their offences are.

The Dream is free, the Hustle is sold separately…Selah!!!

Timi Owoeye
Seasoned NPFL Analyst, Pidgin Commentator for SuperSport Nigeria, Sports Presenter and Analyst on Radio. Twitter- @timirhrema

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