This subject boggles my heart. Greatly.
So in Abia State, we have two NFPL teams – Enyimba and Abia Warriors that are catered for by the State Government. Somehow neither of them currently play their home games in the State. Of course there’s also Abia Comets in the NNL and Abia Angels too. These are four professional football clubs fended for by the government. This means salaries, maintenance, and all other upkeep. Merely looking at this, you can sense a problem already.
Let’s talk the NPFL teams for a minute and while we are focusing on Abia State, this is the general problem beguiling Professional teams in the League- it is in every State. Now Enyimba plays her home games in Calabar. They are paying for the use of that facility as well as paying for the “hotel/hostel” where the club’s players and officials currently lodge. Revenue is close to nothing because well, we don’t even have our stadium-jam-packing Aba fans gracing the games.
Other forms of revenue for a football club should include sponsorships, partnerships, player sales and TV money. Sadly not one of these revenue sources is bringing in any money. So we just have football clubs that are leaning on her parents (Respective State Governments) for funding and unable to pay any one of her bills. Yes, annually there is money from the League organizers based on where the club finishes but that usually only covers a tithe of the yearly expenses.
This clearly shows this style cannot sustain our football. What if a State gets a new governor who doesn’t want to spent 500 million Naira every year in a State owned football club? Ask Bendel Insurance; they will explain better. Are our football teams unsellable products to market? No we aren’t. A team like Enyimba plays in the Continent almost every year, couldn’t a brand like Coca Cola or Continental Banks like GT Bank be willing to partner?
Sponsorship Proposals can be drawn up quite easily. Question is, why aren’t these companies buying what we are selling? We have the pedigree as a top soccer club. We have the reach – playing amongst the big boys and large audiences every year. We have a large and vibrant social media combined following of over 80,000 on all our social media platforms. What is wrong? Don’t we have what these guys want?
We do. The recent happenings at the NFF has shown us that with the right parameters in place, sponsors will come after you. As I write this, a thought just hit me- “Samsung Enyimba man of the match” or “Heineken Enyimba Match Stats”. These are miniature sponsorship activations that brands can leverage on. This isn’t even Stadium naming rights or Jersey Sponsorships. We can have various categories of sponsorships for interested brands. Regardless of what anyone says, we can make fortunes from our football.
Why don’t teams have academies? Especially when you know a well structured academy means an endless harvest of decent players. How much does player transfers cost nowadays? We all know. Academies are a long term project. Sadly, no one thinks in the long term. Everyone thinks instant success only. The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the next best time? Today. Nobody thinks, how can I make a lasting impact in my club Rangers or Abia Warriors.
The State governments have so many issues pressing as well. States don’t have roads, and then there are have unpaid staff salaries, we have other capital projects. Let’s say you are the State Governor, would funding a football team that doesn’t produce income of its own be top of your agenda? Sometimes, these things are not rocket science – we are hurting ourselves by not taking advantage of our potential.
Our clubs must start doing better. And if you don’t know know to start, ring us up for consultation. Thatenyimbafan@gmail.com.