The year 2017 has come and gone, it was a year of mixed results for Nigerian Football on a whole. On the International scene, Nigeria missed out on the 2017 AFCON held in Gabon and a number of FIFA competitions after failing to navigate the various qualifiers for such events while they redeemed their image and pride after clinching the 2018 FIFA World Cup ticket against all odds from a tricky group with a game to spare.
In a year that the Super Falcons were inactive throughout, the Flying Eagles missed out on the U20 World Cup held in the Korea Republic after falling to Sudan in Africa Youth Championship qualifiers. Similarly, the Golden Eaglets couldn’t defend the title they won in 2015 as they also failed to qualify for the U17 World Cup in India.
However, the Sand Eagles were able to clinch a ticket to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas after missing the last 2 editions, but they fell at the group stage, while the CHAN Eagles reached their third Championship of African Nations to be held this month in Morocco.
At the club level, it was a poor year for Nigerian Clubs on the continent as only Rivers United could qualify for the group stage of the CAF Champions League and even they couldn’t go past the group stage, Ifeanyi Ubah, Enugu Rangers, and Wikki Tourists also failed to get a place in the group stages
However, on the local scene, Plateau United won the Nigeria Professional Football League for the first time in their history while Akwa United won the rebranded Aiteo Cup to both book tickets for 2018 CAF club competitions, Enyimba and MFM FC will join them too on the continent.
Remo Stars, Sunshine Stars, Gombe United and ABS Fc tasted relegation while Go Round Fc, Yobe Desert Stars, Heartland and Kwara United took their place in the top flight for the 2018 season.
The LMC was able to successfully organize it’s first NPFL U15 tournament in May and already the fruits are starting to yield. Also, the NFF partnered with Zenith to organize the 2nd Future Eagles tourney for the u13 and u15 team while the NPFL U15 all-stars team finished second at the Future Stars Championship in South Africa in March.
Many sponsorship deals were signed for the National teams and the local League. The Super Eagles are now sponsored by a couple of organizations and companies while the NPFL enjoyed a trickle-down of the marketing success of the National team.
Aiteo group, Tropical Group Investment (TGI) joined the host of other organizations like Emzor Paracetamol, Nike, Supersport in supporting the NFF and the National team. The NPFL will enjoy more Television coverage in 2018 as a result of a deal signed between the LMC and the Nigeria Television Authority while Aiteo group continue to support Federation Cup improving the prize money for the Male and Female Category.
After an up and down year for Nigerian Football, fans of Nigerian football can look forward into 2018 with optimism and hope for better performances from the various national teams.
The CHAN tourney in Morocco, the start of the NPFL all in January are events that would the appetite of fans while many will hope the female age grade teams in form of the U20 and u17 women’s team will not emulate the disappointing feat of their male counterparts this year.
Already, the u17 women’s team, the flamingoes are looking unconvincing as they prepare for a clash with Cameroon in February for a place in Uruguay for the FIFA U17 world cup in Uruguay much later in the year. The Falconets, on the other hand, are preparing for South Africa in a Fifa women U20 World Cup qualifier while the Super Falcons who still doesn’t have a head coach yet after Randy Waldron rejected the Super Falcons job, have a friendly in March against France.
Whichever way one wishes to look at it, 2018 is a year loaded with a lot of football to look forward to. Watch this space for more details.
From us all, at CheapGoals we wish you a Happy and prosperous 2018