The phrase Nigeria is a sleeping giant has been widely used across the divide, in the context of football. The biggest question has for many years been how a country so endowed in football talent can struggle so badly to make it against presumed contemporaries. That Nigeria has produced some of the best players in the world is never in doubt, but these same players have largely been able to shine on an individual basis.
One question that has regularly come through is, what could be the reason for such struggles, that these said talented players can achieve a lot individually but not be able to perform as a team, when put in the national team frame. Remember this is the nation that has produced former Bolton Wanderers skipper Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, John Obi Mikel and more. However, from the highs of being ranked fifth in the world in the 90s, Nigeria do not have much to show.
For a country badly ravaged by poverty, insecurity and corruption, Nigeria has also struggled to turn the passion for football into an economic reality, for the clubs, the fans and the players. Violent scenes at matches have been a constant eyesore and the financial future for the local league hasn’t looked so great for many years.
A dismal performance in the last AFCON competition and missing out on the 2022 World Cup are just some of the recent lows. However, the emergence of top players like Victor Osimhen depict the best hope for Nigeria. As the country starts its journey to the 2023 AFCON, the best football sure win predictions for today from bet experts on SportyTrader will most definitely favor the Super Eagles, marshaled by the in-form Napoli man.
To engineer such change in the nation’s growth will call for more than just investing in the Super Eagles, there are great plans as well to put money into the local leagues to ensure the country continues producing top footballers. This is also meant to create a football economy, where the corporate world will be encouraged to invest in the local leagues, to guarantee operators at that level have money in their pockets and motivation.
The Nigeria Football Federation in 2022 launched what was termed a ground-breaking deal, The Nigeria Football Fund (TNFF), with the GTI Group, a team of investment bankers, offering a chance for investors to buy into Nigerian football.
The N5 billion Memorandum of Understanding is expected to operate in the form of trading of shares as bonds, seeking to get investors in the game to address issues to do with lack of funding, poor infrastructure, event management challenges and more. The end plan is to foster liquidity of clubs, enable them to further invest in their clubs and staff and help improve the state of Nigerian football.
The biggest challenge Nigerian football has had to deal with in recent times is that most of the clubs in the top flight have relied on the leadership of different states for their funding but in the current post-covid days, most of the states’ have redirected their budgets to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
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