NPFL Board Killing League Momentum with Kickoff Date Postponements

NPFL Board Killing League Momentum with Kickoff Date Postponements

Board Killing League Momentum with Kickoff Date Postponements

Kunle Adewale

After the proportionate success recorded by the eggheads of the Interim Management Committee, IMC headed by Gbenga Elegbeleye, in the prosecution of the Premier Football League, last season, one would have expected that the new NPFL board would build on the momentum of the Super Six and further propelled by the Naija Super 8 but kick-starting the league has become a big challenge for those saddled with its organisation.

For the second time, the kick-off date for the 2023/24 NPFL season has been postponed.

Chief Operating Officer of the NPFL board, Davidson Owumi made the announcement through a letter made available to the media.

The new season was earlier scheduled to commence on August 26 but was later postponed to September 9, but now the kick off date is unknown as the Elegbeleye led board is still at crossroads as to the commencement date.

According to a letter the league body sent to all 20 clubs, the commencement of the league season was postponed due to sponsorship-related issues.

On the contrary, the chief operation officer of the league, Owumi said in a statement posted on the league's page that everything was set for the commencement of the season but the kick-off had to be postponed due to NFF's Annual General Meeting.

The statement read, “The board of the Premier Football League has announced a postponement of the scheduled kickoff for the 2023/24 season citing the need to have members focus on the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Football Federation which is held in , .

“We have everything set for the kickoff in on Saturday but following representations from multiple stakeholders.”

With these consecutive postponements, fans' trust in the NPFL board to conduct a good league is leaving much to be desired if kickstarting the league is already constituting a problem.

Even, the reasons the NPFL board gave for the postponement are contradictory. While one report adduced the reason for the postponement to the versus and match in , the other report has it that the board was still sorting out sponsorship issues.

The date for the match in Uyo had been fixed before the conclusion of last season's league, the question on the lips of observers is that is the NPFL board blind to this date before fixing September 9 as the league's kick off date after the initial August 26, was not visible?

Ironically, one of the reasons the head coach, Jose and his cohorts are adducing for not prosecuting the dead African Cup of Nations qualifier against and is that the form of NPFL players is not known since the league is yet to start therefore, they cannot be invited to the Super Eagles.

As if the Super Eagles assistant coach, George knew how unserious and unreliable those running the league could be when THISDAY asked him few days after the end of last season whether some NPFL players would be invited to prosecute the Nigeria versus Sao Tome and Principe match,  he answered thus: “The commencement of the league before the match would inform Jose 's decision. If the league has not started it becomes difficult to select home-based players for the encounter.”

If the August date initially fixed for the league to kickoff, something which Elegbeleye severally boasted at every opportunity was sacrosanct, The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and its coaches will have no excuse for not inviting a good number of home-based players for the Sao Tome and Principe dead encounter.

Little wonder the country's two representatives- FC and crashed out in the first round of the money-spinning Champions League when there is no league competition to test and put their players in the right frame of mind for a competition of that calibre and those in charge kept postponing the league kickoff date.

Media Officer of , Michael Akintunde, lamenting said, “We were preparing for what we thought was our last friendly game against on Wednesday when we got the that league has been postponed again. Now we have to look for some local teams we engage at home pending the time a new date will be announced.”

The English which most leagues in the is modeled after is not known for postponing its kickoff date. Last season's English ended May 28, the fixtures for the 2023/24 season were announced June 15 and this season's league started August 11, 75 days after the last one.

However, Super Six ended June 11, 90 days after, Nigerian soccer fans are yet to know when the NPFL will kick off after suffering two postponements. What manner of league management is this?

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