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Checking soccer imperialism in Nigeria

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NIGERIANS, particularly, the youths find it most interesting and exciting these days to watch and comment on foreign leagues like English premiership, Spanish Laliga, German Bundesliga and ltalian Seria A.

  There are soccer viewing centres all over the country and these centres attract huge number of people mostly younger ones who watch matches especially, English premiership with every enthusiasm. ln some centres, either you buy drinks or you are asked to pay money ranging from N100 to N200  to enable you watch matches. These youths comply without hesitation. This tells you how deeply interested and involved they are to watching football matches.

  Undoubtedly, many of these our youths know the names of the players, coaches, match officials and referees by heart and are ready to analyse the round leather game intelligently.  

  Obviously, many are fans of these foreign soccer clubs and could go any length to contribute financially towards the growth of the soccer clubs. This is certainly most disturbing.

  However subtly, Europe is somehow controlling Nigerians nay citizens of other African countries soccer wise to the detriment of development of soccer in the countries in Africa, particularly Nigeria.

   It could be argued that these youths need not to be blamed much. Why? They find these foreign soccer leagues very interesting and exciting; hence look forward to watching football matches every weekend and some week days depending on match fixtures.

   However, certain factors should be looked in to ensure that our local football or soccer becomes interesting too and attract people as it used to in the 70s and 80s in this country. We need to ensure that our match officiating is good. The issue of allegation on referees and match officials involving themselves on bribery and corruption to assist soccer clubs to win games should as a matter of urgency, be looked into with a view to eliminating the ugly trend.

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  Aside allegation of bribery and corruption, there is need to see football as a great business. Of course, many are not tapping the business potential aspect of football in Nigeria. lndustrialists in the nation like Dangote, Otedola, lbeto, Eleganza and the like should definitely invest in soccer in this country. They can collectively or individually buy soccer clubs in the nation or form new ones that will bear names of their companies.

  Government does not have any business in owning soccer clubs rather; they should concentrate more in creation of enabling environment for soccer to thrive. They have to remove hands in the day-to-day running of soccer clubs in the country. Good legislation should be formulated and encouraged to be passed into law to improve football management in the nation. Government ought to allow those who are knowledgeable on football management to take over soccer clubs.

  It is high-time companies, firms and industries commenced sponsorship of football clubs in the country. Ordinarily, they are expected to be contributing some percentage of their profits to development of sports, football inclusive. There should be a deliberate policy towards this effect.

  Nigerians should inculcate the habit of trooping to our various stadia to watch our local leagues. Definitely, if the number of people who visit viewing centres go to our stadia to watch local matches, more money will be generated to assist in funding soccer clubs in the nation.

  Otherwise, England and other European nations will continue to control Nigeria soccer wise and it will amount to soccer imperialism. Let’s checkmate this before it’s too late.

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