Yesterday’s blog got to me so much that I had to spend some more time thinking about it. One of the reasons why Africa is backward is not a lack of potential or a lack of resources. It is a lack of foresight. We don’t think long and hard as we ought and sometimes even when the solutions are staring at us in the face. We want a slice of cake but when someone brings along a basket containing eggs, flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and flavors, we turn them down.
The Nigerian Professional Football League is the Nigerian version of the English Premier League. So I ask myself, what is the difference between the two? Talent? Ability? Potential? Money? Opportunity? None of the above. The only difference is that one group has turned his basket of ingredients into a beautiful piece of cake that everyone can’t do without. Every weekend we stay glued to the Premier League managed and run by individuals who don’t possess two heads each.
The average club owner wants their club to be rich. Scratch that. The average NPFL club owner claims he wants their clubs to do well – Make huge sums of money and become a powerhouse in the Continent and beyond. Now when you ask them how? The answer is, “By the Grace of God”! But even the Bible says “My Grace is sufficient for you”. In other words, you have all the graces you will need.
Nigeria is a soccer mad country. Whether it is the Foreign leagues, Super Eagles, Falcons, the junior national teams or even the local teams or village teams that play only at Christmas, people want to watch. Our country today is embattled in a Political tussle. It’s APC and PDP and the new parties trying to usurp power from the current ruling party. Everyone complains of hardships and hard times and the murmur is in every quarter of the society.
But, neatly tucked away in the minds of every Nigerian is that this summer, we will be at the World Cup. And everyday’s schedule during this one month of the World Cup will be adjusted to make room for the football festival. Most would do their best to ensure they see Nigeria’s game. And for that 90 minutes, they leverage on the availability of that experience to forget their sorrows. They forget that they haven’t eaten. Football takes over and becomes a much craved distraction.
This is not just synonymous with football only. Think about this; why does despite the “bad economy” and “no money anywhere”, the beer palors are never empty. Why? Same thing – distraction. People often say things like, “Drink and forget your troubles”. Football, our League football can fill up that void. If we package our product well, saturate the air with it and present memorable stadium experiences for people.
If we continually keep our stadiums safe and boost the quality of concessions served up at the stadium, people would gladly merge football and food + drinks. Let’s even say we get some kind of arrangement where we put popular local artistes and comedians into the mix. People will come. Remember, it’s about the much needed distraction. We can turn oustadiums into some form of sanctuary cities. And look, it’s not even difficult.
I do believe that we are capable of better. I only just listed a few things but there’s no city in Nigeria that can’t produce at least 15,000 spectators at an NPFL game. I dare any club owner to give us the challenge – an opportunity to boost attendance at their games. All we need is 4 weeks and you will see those numbers but mind you, you’re going to pay for our consultations.
I am passionate about our game. I want the level of our football to rise to the level is is meant to be. We are capable for more. Let’s birth this.