Sports Minister harps on the need for a robust domestic league

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has again called for the strengthening of the Nigerian Professional Football League for the overall benefit of Nigerian football. He made this call when he visited the Under-23 team camp in Abuja over the weekend.

“The domestic league is critical particularly for our footballers because that is where they are nurtured and can be picked to play professional football, also from the domestic league we see we can also back-fill into the national team”. He said.

The Minister disclosed that talks were on with the NFF, club owners, and state governments who are owners of clubs, to fine tune ways of re-engineering the domestic league because of its critical nature.

Citing some of the problems of the domestic league, he said, “the challenge of funding is true because without funding, nothing can be done. The nature of ownership is by state governments and private individuals so when you look at the whole setup, there are quite a number of stakeholders. Once the league starts proper, we are going to meet with stakeholders and experts to review what has been done and what can be done differently with the sole goal of strengthening the domestic league. Also remember that without the right facilities, if the football pitches are not in good shape, it’s a major drawback. All these problems are not insurmountable.”

While emphasising that the league will not be allowed to die, he said the Ministry is working to see how the domestic league content can be brought on television. “The same way we are seeing people watching foreign leagues at viewing centres, we can have them watching the local clubs.”

“There is a lot of work going on and we don’t want it playing out too much in the media so that we are not distracted. We know what to do but we need to work with every stakeholder to make sure we get it right”, Mr. Dare concluded.

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