NPFL: Crown Plateau United Champions Already, and Other Matters…

U23 Eagles

The Eagles are at rest, it’s time to make solid plans for the NPFL

Abdu Maikaba, the coach of Plateau United sounded a wake-up call to the decision makers in Nigeria Football when he declared that it will be okay to declare his team Champions of the 2019/2020 football season.

The canny coach made sure not to mention 2018 ‘Champions’ Lobi Stars, and the conditions that led to the abrupt end of that season and the subsequent handing of the Championship to the Makurdi side. Rather, Maikaba noted that his team were consistent as long as the league lasted – having been top of the log for 21 of the 25 weeks played. The Jos team also have the most goals advantage, and currently lead the league with four points.

The suggestion by Maikaba throws up a lot of issues, both present and future, that both the Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company need to seriously consider:

plateau-united

Plateau United are in pole position 

First, they must assume there is no more football to be played again this season. Truth is, unlike the European Leagues where money and sponsorships will be the major factor at play in whatever decisions they will take concerning the next steps, the Nigeria situation is different. That should make the decision or decisions easier. And since the assumption is that there is precious little or no more football that can be played, there should be quick announcements on 2020 Federation Cup for Men; and a decision that will reflect the direction that the Federation Cup for Women, and the Women’s League.

The NFF should play a leading role in this. Even if this is a no-brainer, (I am assuming there will be protests from some quarters that the NFF always play a leading role!). The fact is that international football is at rest, and this means that the ‘distraction’ of the Super Eagles and other lesser international matches are not present to take the full attention of the NFF. This leaves the NFF with a massive opportunity to completely reshape local football.

  1. The full capacity, both intellectual and financial, of the NFF should be focused on delivering lasting solutions that will steer Nigeria Football away from its present state
  2. Meetings via virtual channels, both video and audio should be happening on a daily basis
  3. The top shots of the NFF and LMC should leverage this time to contacts their friends in other industries, and do a hard sell on the other football assets that are not the Super Eagles.

The football authorities should shift their focus to the future, and start laying out plans for next season. The reasoning behind this is simple: whether the rest of this season finally gets voided or not, the odds are that the way next season will play out is already affected. It is then important that we do not get so caught up with the unfolding drama, only to get caught up in a quagmire when the next season literally jumps on us. The time to answer the questions, is NOW. If this season gets voided or (or not) what is the next step? What are the possible scenarios? Depending on the outcome of the current situation, how do we play out next season? would there be need for an abridged season? What do we do with Women’s Football? They have much less teams, should we organize something short and crown Champions, or do we void it all, together with the men? What about next season for the women too?

These are the questions the meetings and consultations would solve, and the time to do that, is now!   

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