President Goodluck Jonathan has acknowledged the dividends of the on-going reforms in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) but warned that there is still much work to be done to make the league internationally competitive.
The president was speaking at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa when he received the players and Technical officials of the Super Eagles team that finished third at the 3rd Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) organised by the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) for players who represent clubs in their home leagues.
â€œSignificantly, your exploits at the championship further demonstrated the fact that the efforts being put into rebranding and re-invigorating the Nigerian Football League are yielding positive resultsâ€, remarked President Jonathan.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had assigned the League Management Company (LMC) the franchise to organise and operate the countryâ€™s elite League in March 2013. A major feature of the reform of the domestic League by LMC is the licensing system under which clubs participating in the league must comply with minimum requirements for licensing. Some of these requirements which were drawn from the FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF) Club Licensing regulations require the participating clubs to meet minimum specified standards for playersâ€™ welfare, sporting infrastructure, legal status and administrative structure amongst others.
The President in acknowledging the reform process which has been made mandatory by CAF and NFF), however did emphasize that there is a lot more work to be done to completely transform the League and commended the organizers for getting the league ranked among the best in Africa.
In his words, â€œalthough there is still much more work to be done, it is gratifying to note that, today, our league is ranked among the best in Africa.â€
Chairman of LMC, Hon. Nduka Irabor, in his reaction to the presidentâ€™s commendation pledged that the LMC will continue to explore opportunities that will qualitatively improve professional football league in the country.
â€œObviously, it is gladdening to have the president of the country endorse our teamâ€™s modest effort, which is supported wholeheartedly by NFF and the higher sports authorities.
On our part, we will continue to work and consult with all identifiable resource centers in the on-going reform process to transform the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to become commercially viable, rewarding to investors, players, technical officials and accelerate jobs creation for the communitiesâ€, Irabor pledged.
The LMC chairman said that with the adoption of the CAF Club Licensing Regulation by the NFF and the enthusiasm shown by the clubs in embracing the registration requirements for the 2013/14 season, â€œwe are optimistic that true professional football league will be achieved in Nigeria even before the CAF deadline of November 30, 2014â€.