THE WAY OUT
■ Getting a proper Tv Rights owner for the league.
This is an area where the LMC need to address as soon as possible, since Supersports backed out of the broadcast deal which was supposed to expire next season, the LMC must make sure the blackout is not prolonged by getting another TV partner, else the interest and attention that is being gathered from followers will be lost.
There are many ways of sorting this out, the LMC can re-negotiate with supersport, or go for a different cable TV platform like Kwese TV or NTA sports on Startimes. Alternatively, the TV rights can be awarded to select regional TV stations in order to spread the NPFL coverage and broadcast to every part of the country.
■ Orientating The Fans and Professionalism/ Sportsmanship by Club Officials
This is one of the ways that crowd troubles and violence can be checked, club sides should endeavor to enlighten their fans about football being a game where you can only get three possible results, either a win, draw or a loss. Club officials should also endeavour to move on, irrespective of results from games played or referees poor officiating.
Also, clubsides should make sure unauthorised persons are not allowed in restricted areas close to the pitch.
■ LMC need to be swift at passing judgment on any violence case while Security at match venues Should Improve.
The league management body need not delay in punishing erring clubs as far as crowd troubles and violence is concerned, also punishments should be tough enough to serve as a caution to others.
Furthermore, security at match venues need to be enhanced, and this should be done by deploying more security officers (police/stewards) to match venues.
Security personnel at NPFL games are usually not enough to contain the excess crowd, how can police officers who are not more than 20 scattered around the stands contain a crowd of 2000 spectators when trouble erupts?
■ Referee should up their games
The home winning syndrome is aided by poor officiating, thus taking referees on further referee courses might reduce the level of poor officiating and bias from our referees this will, in turn, reflect in match day results.
Likewise, officials who are consistently controversial with their officiating should not be appointed for subsequent games or even be suspended in order to make other referees sit up.
■ Clubs need to pay their players as at when due
Safe to say this may become a thing of the past once the privatization of the club sides come into full effect but Until then, clubs need to honour their contractual obligations to their players by paying their salaries, match bonus and incentives as at when due so as to prevent further embarrassments like the case of Enugu rangers and Sunshine stars.
Both teams have been poor so far this season especially the league champions and this is not really surprising as players can’t be expected to perform on an empty stomach especially when many of them are breadwinners for their families with responsibilities to cater for.
Godwin Obaje of Ifeanyi Ubah earns 2 million Naira monthly (the highest in the NPFL), and until players start earning such amount, they will continue to run to obscure leagues in the middle east and Scandinavians, which is not healthy for their careers and Nigerian football at large.
■ Stadia need to be Upgraded
Many NPFL match venues are not television friendly with poor natural pitches and “rotten” stands.
The stands and pitch of the Umuaiha township stadium in Abia doesn’t befit a top flight match, the LMC need to set standards which clubs need to meet with any stadium presented as their home ground.
Although some stadiums just need a touch consistent maintenance of their pitches to meet acceptable standards. Clubs that can’t afford the cost of maintaining natural grass can install artificial pitches to make playing surface tolerable enough for players and broadcast aesthetics.
1 – Rangers Intl FC has not won two consecutive NPFL matches this season.
2 – The number of Nigerian teams left on the continent. Rivers united will be competing in the Caf confederations cup after defeating Rayon sports of Rwanda to secure Confederations Cup play spot. Enugu rangers fell out of continental competitions altogether, Wikki tourist and Ifeanyi Ubah also participated in the preliminary stages of the Caf Confederations Cup but failed to get to the group stage.
3– Is the number of penalties saved in a single match by Danladi Isah and also Olorunleke Ojo, although both goalkeepers achieved this feat for Kano Pillars and Sunshine stars in separate matches.
4 – El-Kanemi’s Samuel Mathias, Alhassan Ibrahim of Akwa united and MFM FC’s Odey are the only players to have hit 10+ goal mark this season.
5 – Tony Okpotu became the fourth player to score a hat-trick in the 2016/17 #NPFL season. Al-Hassan Ibrahim of Akwa united, MFM’s Stephen Odey and Plateau united forward Reuben Bala are the other three players to have taken home the match ball.
6– Top 5 teams with most Penalty kicks awarded in the NPFL this season FC IfeanyiUbah (9), Lobi Stars (7), Niger Tornadoes (5), MFM FC (5), Enyimba FC (5).
7 – Mustapha Aliko of Niger Tornadoes holds the most number clean sheets this season alongside Theophilus Afhelokai of Enyimba, Suraj Ayeleso of Nasarawa Utd and El -Kanemi’s George Micheal.
8 – Eight managers have lost their job at the end of the first stanza.