Football: Nigerian League improving, says Odegbami

Segun Odegbami

Ex-Green Eagles Skipper, Segun Odegbami, said on Sunday that coverage and officiating in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) was improving.

Odegbami, who spoke in Ibadan, also said that the facilities in the league have been improved.

He, however, said that the only critical area that needed be attention was the generation of income to enable the clubs to operate.

He, therefore, urged club owners, managers and sport administrators to sustain the improvements so that the nation’s football would be strengthened.

“If Nigeria, as a county, gets richer, it will have funds to take care of sport and entertainment. We don’t see sport as a business, which is quite unfortunate,“ he said.

On the non-payment of the five months outstanding salaries of Shootings Stars Sports Club (3SC) players, Odegbami said the development could be due to some financial paucity in the country.

The ex-international, however, said that the situation posed a great danger to development of the round-leather game, because the non-payment of players could be distressing to the clubs.

The former striker, popularly called `Mathematical Odegbami` in his playing days, said that lack of funds could make it difficult for clubs to finance league matches.

“I don’t think owing the players’ salaries is good for the development of football and the league in general.

“Most of these clubs are owned by the states and most of them are enmeshed in serious financial crisis with many owing workers for months.

“I don’t think many of them won’t owe players when they owe their workers. This is because they see football as a recreation rather than a business, “ he said.

Odegbami, an ex-3SC player, described the 3SC as a respected and prominent brand in Nigerian and African football, saying the club ought to have regained its glory going by happenings.

He criticised those calling for the privatisation of football clubs in the country, saying that many of the clubs would collapse if privatised.

“How many of the private organisations are willing to take charge of the clubs. Can they genuinely manage and fund them if handed over to them?

“I don’t see that as a solution because we don’t seem to see sports as a business in this country,“ he said.