Nigerian Football League And The Obnoxious PPG

By Etop Umoidem

Football activities may have returned in some parts of the world after being suspended for months as a result of the outbreak of the deadly corona virus pandemic. The explicit reason for the return of football in some of these countries is to complete their football season vis-à-vis determine the winners of the league and who represent them at the continental championships, without any prejudice.

The possible return of football in these countries, of course, is not done without measures and rules as stipulated by World Health Organization or Government of those countries, to prevent the continued spread of the deadly scourge. Some European and other Leagues have completed some matches without any encumbrances. An indication that Nigeria can as well return to the stadium to complete her league with proper planning and execution of the remaining matches so as to end the season well.

However, the organizers of the Nigeria Football League, the League Management Company (LMC) in collaboration with the egg heads of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have decided to end the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and other leagues abruptly without consulting wide with football stakeholders and managers, a case that has raised a very serious concern within the nation’s football circle.
The introduction of this obnoxious Point Per Game (PPG) by the League Management Company to determine who wins the League season and teams that will represent Nigeria in CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup respectively has technically caused disaffection among some club owners, chairmen and managers who have struggled through their cognitive state to understand the proper meaning and workability of the format.

PPG concept is perceived to be an invention of an individual whose intent is to motorboat some teams to pole positions in order for them to benefit from what they did not actually work for or achieve during the season. PPG, according to some people, is one of the most heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of football lovers or fans of some club sides in the country. Points Per Game (PPG) is borrowed from France; and that teams in the French League supported the format is not enough reason that Nigerian teams should embrace it with open arms, without any reservation or sufficient knowledge of the format as the case may be. After all, Nigerian football league is nowhere near the French League in any ramifications.

The adoption of PPG to end Nigeria’s football league season is another way of aiding some club sides to continental prominence or relevance, to the detriment of football development in the country. Of course, teams favoured by this incongruous decisions will be rendered unprepared, unfit and unready to compete with their counterparts in Africa when CAF Continental football hostilities begin next football season.

The decision to use PPG to end Nigeria Football League season is a blatant display of naivety and ineptitude of our football administrators to lift Nigeria’s football to the Eldorado. The idea further indicts our football administrators as the genuine reasons for Nigeria’s football poor standard and under-development.
It also exposes the corrupt nature in Nigeria’s football league, a syndrome that has plunged the nation football credentials and culture into a serious doubt and dubiousness.

Why the use of PPG to end the league season on the pretext of COVID-19 pandemic? When countries like Spain, Italy, England et al that were worst hit by this scourge have all returned to the pitch to complete their various leagues to avoid bringing their leagues to disrepute and ignominious end. They have done that to the credit of their football administrators who have lived up to their ingenuity. Why has the Nigerian football authority and stakeholders not adopt the approach and format employed by these countries to complete Nigerian football Leagues to the satisfaction of all football stakeholders in the country? No matter the name, interpretation or analysis given to this (PPG), there is more to this rule than one can imagine.

To show that this PPG format is a controversial instrument used in concluding Nigerian football season, some teams refused to vote for it, or better still, expressed their disapproval of its inexplicable mode of operation, while other club sides readily gave their nod without any recourse, possibly for reasons best known to them. However, the bottom line is that, the Nigerian football is under a spell of manipulation by few who are privileged to be its administrators. No apologies.

Is it not pathetic that for seasons now, Nigeria has not been able to conclude its league well? Is it not a big shame that Nigeria Professional Football League has no sponsor, let alone having the league on TV for the rest of the world to see, enjoy or judge.

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