7 minutes with China: Help! Nigerian football clubs are stuck in the past

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It has been an interesting
last three weeks for Nigerian club football as the transfer window
came alive with a couple of them trying to out do one another in
unveiling their players via social media.
I remember a sprite commercial
in the 90s on television that went, “Image is nothing, sprite is
everything” while a Miranda commercial also put some “Orange men”
walking the streets of Lagos with folk at first running away from
these men not knowing who they were until It was revealed they were
part of a new Mirinda Orange promo.
Mirinda Orange Men
Brands then trued to open our
eyes to the importance or imaging and how the eyes and consciousness
are attracted to and remember outstanding things you see.
In Europe, especially in the
immediate past transfer window, clubs went very creative to unveil
their players on social media and it was amazing seeing them try to
undo one another in a bid to show the world what new player had
joined their fold, but as usual, Nigeria is the country that time
forgot.
Back in the day, a simple
press release would have announced a player had joined a club, but
these days there is so much drama on social media.
The Paul Pogba announcement
In England, Manchester United
put up so much in 2016 when they announced the signing of Paul Pogba
via a twitter video that went viral.
Liverpool went one better by
opening a fake twitter account, Announce Sallah Now
that portrayed twitter followers inundating them with messages to
announce the signing of Mohammed Sallah.
In the 17 second long video,
Mohammed Sallah himself was scrolling through the messages on his
smart phone, then looks up and says, “Sallah Announced.” which
was creativity at its best.
Crystal Palace announced the
signing of a new manager, Frank De Boer with a short video of white
smoke coming out of a restaurant Chimney, reminiscent of how the
Vatican announces a new pope has been elected.
Crystal Palace use white smoke to announce new manager
These and many more creative
ways have been designed by clubs in Europe, especially England to
announce the signing of new players.
According to
www.voiceboxagency.co.uk,
the fan engagement league is one of the most fiercely contested
competitions in world football, played by the top teams, with an
audience of millions.

The fan engagement
league is one that has no final whistle and does more marketing than
you would imagine.
The website continues that
“With video content accounting for 74% of all consumer driven
traffic, it’s easy to see why football clubs are increasingly
choosing video to increase fan engagement. From pre and post match
interviews, to the unveiling of new players – as demonstrated by
Manchester United’s epic unveiling of Paul Pogba last summer –
video is the medium which Millennials and Generation Z gravitate
towards most.
www.quintly.com
goes ahead to analyse that Manchester United have the highest number
of fans on Facebook, totaling seventy million, one hundred and
fifteen thousand, four hundred and seventy two as at August 2017,
followed by Arsenal with thirty seven million, four hundred and
thirty eight thousand five hundred and sixty one.
The lowest by an EPL club is
newly promoted Huddersfield with one hundred and two thousand two
hundred and eighty one.
On twitter, Manchester United
still lead with thirteen million two hundred and fifty three thousand
five hundred and forty four with Arsenal still in second place with
eleven million thirty seven thousand, four hundred and eighty two
followers.
Rivers United sign Chinedu Udechukwu
Just like on face book,
Huddersfield are last with one hundred and thirteen thousand one
hundred and ninety six followers.
Barcelona, however, tops the
world ranking with more than one hundred and two million facebook
fans and forty million on twitter.
But Nigerian clubs seem to
have been left behind, a worrying prospect.
According to Lolade Adewuyi on
www.goalnigeria.com, only
one Nigerian club, Enyimba is on the list of top 32 African clubs on
social media.
Enyimba has a following of
just 69, 091 in a list topped by Egypt’s Al Ahly with 16.8 million
combined from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
Sad, when statistics show
Nigeria is the most populous African country and prides itself as the
Giant of Africa.
However, it seems that
Nigerian club administrators just discovered social media,
especially, whatsapp and insist everything they do must go on the
platform but have so far lacked style, creativity and a will to be
different.
Last week, Rivers United dealt
us a horror show when they posted a photo of former Katsina United
striker, Chinedu Udechuwku signing a piece of paper that should have
been a contract with the club. With Udechukwu in that photo were the
club secretary, Ahmed Abdulrahman and General Manager, Okey Kpalikwu.
First it seemed as though, all
three just met in a Buka (local restaurant), asked the attendants to
clear out the food and debris from one of the tables then posed for
the photograph.
Then it also looked like none
of them wanted to be in that place. From the looks on their faces,
Udechukwu did not want to, but was somehow was forced to sign, just
like in the movies.
Omoyele signs for Plateau United, or maybe Manchester United


Ahmed obviously did not
want to be there, while Kpalikwu was angry about something, visibly.
There was no branding on the
wall or anything to show that the environment or what they were doing
had anything to do with a football club, but that is a Nigerian top
division club with a budget going into hundreds of millions of naira.
When I put up that photograph
on twitter and instagram these are a few of the responses I got.
From WajiniNwaji “Signing
for Rivers United is not a smiling matter”
From Izuchi_ejiogu, “Lol.
Africa is so mean” and then “nothing nice about us here”
Black Gambino, “The Rivers
United folks look so thrilled being there”
Adebowale Adeyemi, “It only
shows how players will be owed salaries. It starts from here”
Uncle P, “ The Rivers United
people look like they are about to be posted to the Sambissa forest.”
Plateau sign Suswan and Swan Water
And many more of such comments
were put up.
When League champions, Plateau
United announced to the world via whatsapp that they had signed top
scorer from Osun United, Tosin Omoyele, some twat in the picture wore
a Manchester United jersey.
No regrets for calling him a
twat unless of course he comes out with proof that Tosin is actually
a Manchester United player who was on loan to Osun United or he is a
staff of the former English champions, he had no right to wear a
United jersey while his player was moving from Osun United to Plateau
United.
He was actually smiling, when
in fact it was a cheap Manchester United jersey probably bought in
one of the local shops for less than a thousand five hundred naira.
Plateau United showed a photo
of the club signing Peter Suswan and apart from the Team Manager or
so of Plateau United wearing a club jersey with a logo on his chest,
I noticed that they also used to occasion to announce a multi million
naira endorsement deal with bottled water company, Swan Water.
How much did Swan Water pay
for the advert to have their bottle and logo up there for the world
to see? I am sure nothing, but nobody told them they had just
advertised for the bottlers?
The same Plateau United
announced that the club had signed Gambo Mohammed from Kano Pillars
with a photograph of the signing in the office of the Team Manager.
Gombo Mohammed joins Plateau United
Though that photograph was not
taken in the conference room of the club, but doesn’t the office of
the Team Manager look a bit boring?
It could pass for the office
of clerk, typist and secretary of a local government council
secretariat in Nigeria.
Nothing in that office shows
it has anything to do with a football club, but we are talking here
of the Nigerian League champions who will play in the CAF Champions
League next year.
Nigerian clubs need to shake
off their social media lethargy or they will continue to be taken as
an unserious lot by the 21st century advertisers.
Maybe Nigerian Premier League
clubs may not be able to give out the kind of high end videos the
Europeans churn out when they announce new players but these
photographs in dark untidy rooms, some of them looking like “short
time joints” (brothels) must be improved on.
The world is in 2017 so
Nigerian football clubs must move away from the past. We are stuck
far away in time

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