After 19 rounds of matches in the Nigeria professional football league, 2017 season, the league goes on a break to give the 20 teams in the league a much-needed rest.
However, it is important to examine the successes and the failures recorded in the first half of the season by the League Management Company. As there were positives in the league so also were the downsides. First, we look at the positives then subsequent articles from cheapgoals.com will cover the negatives and possible solutions.
Once the sponsors are secured, they will all partner with the league under the NPFL brand, this is expected to increase the value and price money to be shared between the 20 teams.
The LMC at the beginning of the season decided to do away with the solitary sponsorship of the league thus ending the long time sponsorship of Globacom for the league and as such looking at having various sponsors for the league just like the EPL has done this season. Originally, Star larger has been unveiled as the official beer of the league while some other companies are being negotiated with.
Privatisation of Clubs
The most important progress by the LMC in the development of the league is listing of some NPFL clubs on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in order to privatise and professionalise the activities of the club sides.
The nine clubs that had got the nod of League Management Company (LMC) are Rangers, Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Gombe United, MFM, Abia Warriors, 3SC, Wikki Tourists and El Kanemi Warriors with other clubs in view for the future.
Efforts are in progress to get investors acquire the clubs with some issuing houses like Finmal Financial Services Limited, Cowrie Assets Management Limited, Fundvine Capital & Securities, GTI Capital, Afrinvest Securities, Bestworth Assets & Trust Limited and Capital Assets Limited all assigned to the club sides.
NPFL/La Liga partnership yielding fruits with Youth Teams competitions.
The grandest of all the achievements made by the LMC so far this season, having secured a partnership with La Liga last season, the LMC has mandated that all 20 teams in the league must have a U15 team with a relatively young coach for the team, and as such created an “NPFL U15 promises” tournament (which is underway in four venues of Abuja, Kaduna, Osogbo and Owerri ) involving all 20 NPFL youth teams with players under the age of 15 to kick-start a youth league which would be held annually.
It wasn’t only the clubs and young talents that gained, also aspiring young coaches who are coaches of the NPFL club sides youth teams benefited from this program as they held a coaching course in Abuja before the start of the youth tournament with Mutiu Adepoju and some Spanish Technical instructors taking them through some coaching classes.
Also, a select youth team of young players from the NPFL teams earlier in March participated in a Future champions competition held in South Africa where the NPFL all-stars finished second having lost to Athletico Madrid 2-1 in the final. These developments will surely rub off on the National teams and league in the nearest future as stars are talents are being unearthed frequently with these tournaments.
Gone are the days when the league went on without good coverage and stadium virtually empty due to safety reasons and a home winning syndrome which made matches predictable and un-entertaining to watch.
In recent years match venues like the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, Lekan Salami Stadium Ibadan, Agege Stadium in Lagos, Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium in Anambra, Ilorin Stadium amongst others have seen their stands filled to capacities as fans have started returning to the various stadia to support their local teams.
Also, the promoted teams are not left out with Remo stars and ABS of Ilorin commanding a respectable number of supporters on match days. This can only get better with improved security, good officiating and publicity.
NPFL has seen it’s publicity preached on local Radio, TV stations and also on social media this season but now the league is going global, first came the live streaming of matches which commenced with a test stream in February on “urlivestream.com” with matches between Kano pillars and Abs including Enugu Rangers and Fc Ifeanyi Ubah streamed live on the Web, the first in the history of the NPFL. The streaming is expected to be available for all matches by the start of next season.
Similarly, the Sheu Dikko led LMC has made plans to make NPFL to be aired in the UK starting from next season, through AIT and also with the aim to look for partners in the United States and the Far East for live coverage of the league.
The efforts of the NPFL players in the publicity of the league to the outside world cannot be understated as well. Sikiru Olatunbosun’s world class goal in the NPFL match day 8 fixture between MFM Fc and Rangers garnered world attention thus winning the CNN goal of the week beating Roma’s Naingollan to the award.
Afterwards, Olatunbosun’s strike was also widely touted as worthy of the Puskas Award and mentions of it were published in Spanish, Brazilian, French, Italian, and British newspapers. His effort surely also brought the league to the attention of foreign fans.
Teams Making better Arrangements and also supporting made in Nigeria products.
So far so food, there hasn’t been a case of a team not turning up at match centres due to transportation problems or lack of funds despite having to play twice in seven days, before one would debunk this as an achievement, let’s quickly recall in 2015 that Kano pillars were attacked by armed robbers on their way to Owerri to honour a league match against Heartland. However, such incidents have reduced with teams taking plane flights to their various match venues as opposed to road trips except when their next match would be in a neighbouring state.
More importantly, teams are now well kitted as the top two kit makers in the country are responsible for the jersey of 80% of the teams in the league, the major kit makers being CONE sportswear, OWU kit makers and HAGGAI wears.
Unlike in the past where team players wear different kits of the same colour to prosecute matches or even by a bundle of Adidas or Nike made shirts and make players wash and wear these kits, they now sign contracts with these kit makers to provide and also dress them professionally in colourful and well-branded jerseys.
You can’t but appreciate the beauty of MFM FC home and away jersey or the coolness of Rivers united away regalia, Enyimba’s all white kit is a must love for those who prefer white, therefore it’s not a surprise to see people donning the kits of the teams in our leagues. Slowly but surely our league is moving forward.
Having said all these, there have been some negatives that need to be worked upon by the LMC, this negatives will be examined later on in the 2nd part of this article, however this can’t stop us from appreciating the efforts of the Sheu Dikko led LMC in developing the league which are clearly evident to all, let’s also play our parts by visiting and filling the closest NPFL match venue and stadium close to us.
Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time
The beautiful game of football is arguably the only sport that entertains its fans with the opportunity to witness a genuine instance of sheer genius with a series of beautiful nutmegs. The display of skills, footwork, eye-catching dribbles by different players makes the game more entertaining.
A lot of players around the world can dribble, go past a defender with a single flick and pace. However, good dribblers can be considered as one of the most important key players of a team, as they can unlock any kind of defense.
There are tons of Football dribblers, but only the best have made it onto the CheapGoals list.
10. Roberto Rivelino
Rivelino’s magic with the ball was unbelievable, doing things nobody ever has or will do on a football pitch, and also had a quality of certainty about himself when he was on the ball.
He would not only wind past his opponents but also mortify them and smash defenders’ confidence. Sudden speeding up, various body bluffs would see him outfox defenders on numerous occasions, as some would say Garrincha made the ball talk to his feet.
Other than being authoritatively one of the best footballers to ever graced the beautiful game and lived with three World Cup medals, this iconic Brazilian player was incredible at dribbling. Being able to control the ball in front of defenders and going past them with ease and confidence is something an aspiring footballer would dream of.
8. George Best
Undoubtedly one of England’s greatest players, having scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spread over more than a decade for the Red Devils. He had the confidence to make use of the ball within and outside of his boot so well that he could cut around players quickly and easily.
De Lima is known for dribbling past defenders and after that going ahead to score a goal. only a few players have aced the popular ‘step over’ dribble as Ronaldo always proved to be a match-winner time over time with his solo dribbles.
6. Johan Cruyff
One of Cruyff’s best abilities was that he had the ability to recognize any weakness and shortcoming in a defender. Like De-lima, he had a move named after him called “The Cruyff Turn”. It would appear as though he was passing the ball to a teammate but instead to kick the ball, he would turn 90 degrees and drag the ball within his foot behind his back leg. This sudden 90-degree move always left the opponent over to the cleaners.
Talking about football dribblers, Garrincha compared to Pele was generally viewed as the best dribbler ever. His extraordinary speed combined with his stunning ball control always leaves defenders powerless, and unfit to deal with his mesmerizing dribbles. At just 5ft 6inches Garrincha’s low center of gravity helped him weave around opponents effortlessly.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona uses a style of dribbling called “Gambetta” in which he would use his body position to trick into going the wrong way.
Maradona is an impudent, supreme football dribbler – who uses his small stature to make an extraordinary impact which made him one of the best dribblers in football. His strength and control made it difficult to knock him off the ball.
Considered by many as a standout amongst one of the most skillful players in football, he was commended for his abilities and inventiveness. only if his prime had lasted longer, he may very well have been crowned with Ballon d’Or but Okocha is one of the best football dribblers. Be that as it may, it always a joy to watch the Nigerian dazzle on the football pitch.
The former PSG forward and Brazil legend came into the limelight amid his time with Barcelona scoring 70 goals in 145 caps for the club. Dinho brought his mesmerizing pattern of football from the streets of Brazil onto the world stage, and defenders couldn’t deal with his skills and frills.
Every little thing about him appeared to be so superb. From his sly bluffs to his sudden change in increasing speed, all that he did was accompanied by a smile all over his face. His most popular trick was ‘Snake Bite’ where he would trick defenders by pushing the ball sideways, however, all of a sudden pulling the ball back the other way. He is considered one of the best football dribblers.
Having for all intents and purposes wins everything minus a World Cup, the four-time Balon d’Or winner is magnificently unstoppable on his day. The Barcelona forward has scored lots of stunning goals, beating three, four, even five players before firing it in the back of the net.
Mathias Sindelar, Zinedine Zidane, Micheal Laudrup, Adama Toure, Magico Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Ariel Ortega, Eden Hazard,Dennis Bergkamp.
This is CheapGoal’s top 10 football dribblers, if any of our loving readers feel otherwise or have their preferred special list, pls don’t hesitate to drop and comment…
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)