NPFL Finale: Brand New Champion, Old Problems, Bright Future

The Nigerian Professional Football League season draws to a close today with a first-time champion guaranteed to emerge. After 37 grueling games, the shootout for the crown is between Plateau United and MFM FC. Just one point separates the two sides, so this is far from decided. On paper Plateau have the advantage as they host off-colour defending champions Rangers, while MFM travel to mid-table El-Kanemi. If there was ever a time the church-owned MFM needed fire and miracles from the heavens, now is that time. Not only do they have to beat El-Kanemi away, they would need Rangers to do them a favour by getting a result in Jos. Many would probably say Plateau deserve the title after leading topping the table for much of the season, but MFM, who ironically barely survived relegation in their maiden appearance in the top-flight last season, have had a brilliant season themselves. May the best team win.


Poor sponsorship  – clearly, poor sponsorship remains a sad problem despite the stability and improvement the league has enjoyed in recent years. Star Lager remains the one big local brand behind the league, while TV broadcaster Supersport, who have been a heavy financial backer of the NPFL in recent years, have opted to scale down their role. Most of our other big brands involved in football still rather sponsor the English Premier League, even at a time of economic recession when we desperately need to build local industry. Somebody needs to tell our captains of industry that that is an illogical business strategy that will only serve to shrink their own businesses over time. Go figure.

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