By Ikechukwu
Chukwu
A whole lot has been put in place to make the Nigerian
League more interesting than it was the previous season by the
League Management Company (LMC).
However,
the main actors of the league itself has to be the
players
.
This write up focuses on the Nigerian league player and
why he is not considered a celebrity unlike their counterparts in Europe.
The League Is Not Attractive
An average English Premier League game has a packed stadium unlike what is attainable in the NPFL where aside a
few stadia in the country like Kano ( Kano Pillars), Aba ( Enyimba), Akure
Township Stadium and lately the Agege Stadium where MFM FC play, most other
teams cannot boast an average crowd of 3000 people per matchday
.
This
makes
it difficult for most people to know the players playing
for these teams not to even talk of idolizing them. A typical Nigerian football
fan would prefer to watch two average EPL teams to watching an NPFL game.
Publicity Of The League
In as much as the local media is doing its best to help
publicise the league, much still
needs to be done to help re-orientate Nigerians to fully support the local league
teams.
Match previews are really not done properly unless the
big teams are invo
lved, players are not being profiled properly etc.
Player transfers are very useful in building interest in
a particular league because if supporters know how much a player is worth and
what he earns, it will make people want to watch them in the league this the
media do not do properly but the media can also work with the information
gotten from the clubsides of which we know that is limiited due to these clubs
not having a proper working and up to date websites.
Players Not Being Able To Market Brands
In as much as i hate comparisons, it helps to distinguish
what and who’s better. We see over in Europe where footballers are used as
poster faces for major brands from automobile companies to telecommunication
companies, banks etc.
But such endorsements is not attainable in the NPFL where
we have majority of these brands staying away from the league itself not to
mention sponsoring individual teams or players.
In South America, we see up to three companies sponsoring
a particular player but an NPFL  player cannot
even get just one sponsor.
Players Themselves Not Feeling Like Big Shots
Most NPFL players themselves do not feel like celebrities
themselves because they dont see themselves as one.
Most of them are camera shy, dont live in mansions, cant express themselves properly etc which makes their fans, cooperate
organizations, media etc not appreciate them the way they should be.
These are just a few of the challenges that the Nigerian
league player  faces but lots can be done
to remedy the situation and give these players the limelight they duely
deserve.
These are some of the solutions i feel could bring a
change to this situation.
Terrestial TV should be involved in the league
Cable TV has done a whole lot in improving the standing
of the Nigerian league by giving Nigerians the priviledge of watching their
favorite teams on screen with high quality coverage and by also making the LMC
mandate all clubsides to upgrade their stadia to be TV friendly but without
terrestial Tv getting involved, a whole lot of Nigerians still would not get
that opportunity to view the league.
Not many Nigerians can afford to watch Cable TV and would therefore miss the opportunity of viewing the
league but with terrestial tv involved, that need will be met because
terrestial tv needs to subscription and that way accord lots of fans to watch
the league and generate interest in some players they fancy.
Active Publicity Of The League By Individual Clubsides
Publicity does a whole lot in improving the standard and
acceptibility of a product and Nigerian clubsides should use this avenue to
promote their clubsides, brands, players etc.
Information dissemination helps build peoples interest
and if these clubsides have a proper working websites with up to date
activities of the club, history of the club, player profiles etc, it will go a
long way to provide fans of these clubs with the necessary information they
need about their favorite players.
Matchday programmes can be made by these clubs with a
player of the team headlining the focus of the day.
Social media is also very key nowadays in helping to
publicize the league with millions of people visiting these sites on a daily
basis, if these clubsides can harness and properly utilize this medium not just
to update livescores on matchdays alone but be active every single day on these
platform with activities of thier players, it will help to generate interest in
these players.
Incentives For The Fans To Come To The Stadium
One way of bringing the fans back to the stadium is by
giving them incentives like conducting a lottery at halftime or at the end of
the game with the winner getting to win mega gifts like plasma tvs or
generating sets. If fans know they stand a way of winning gifts, they would
troop to the stadium to watch games. The players of these clubsides should be
the ones presenting the gifts to the fans that way the fans get to cherish and
appreciate them.
Consistency Of The Players
Overtime in the Nigerian league weve seen players have
one great season but they never get to remain the the league the next season
that way reducing the quality of the league.
If we get to keep the best players in the league
overtime, the popularity of these players will generate interest in the league
both by the fans and coperate bodies that way some of these players might even
get cooperate sponsorship which will even make them bigger stars in the league
and therefore command followership by the fans.
  

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