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Nigeria’s New Football Season

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The football season in Nigeria which has been in limbo due to outbreak of coronavirus pandemic has been given green light to start.
THE federal government in a statement through the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, directed sporting activities, mostly the restart of 2020/2021 football season to commence.
ALIYU said,” The lifting of restriction on outdoor activities particularly football is in line with earlier consultations with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.”
THE directive from the federal government has made it imperative for the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in conjunction with the Nigeria League Management Committee, NLMC, to work out modalities for the take off of new football league.
THE last football season ended abruptly in March, day 25 with leader decided through point per game table. Also, there was no promotion to, or relegation from NPFL leading to controversy, litigations.
THEREFORE, there is the need to commence the new football season as it has been done in other leagues of the world. The new season should commence with the League Management Committee rolling out the new calendar for the season. It is disheartening that the league which was to start in September has no starting date. While all teams are in camp, the organ saddled with organizing the league is still foot dragging.
WE believe that the LMC should have designed COVID-19 protocols for and work with the NCDC with a view to kickstarting fresh football league in Nigeria.
THE effect of the pandemic is felt very much in the country. Our football league is lagging behind among leagues in the world presently by not meeting up with FIFA time table and denying our players opportunities to go for trials abroad.
IF the truth must be told, officiating in our league is poor and international standard, reason our referees were not given the opportunity to officiate in the FIFA and even CAF, football related matches.
THOUGH, we noted some improvement last season with our referees becoming bold and discharging their duties without fear or favour to any team. We thus suggest that such feat must be carried to the new season, Referees in Nigeria must up their games and officiate with the rules and regulations guiding the game of football.
We therefore commend the President, Nigeria Football Federation, Amadu Pinnick for organising training for referees in the country, this has brought improvement to football in the country and gave referees some measure of confidence and integrity.
Again, since referees are strategic to the success of the game, there is the need to continue to invest in their training.
However, we frown at the way Nigeria referees are treated globally, it is shameful that no referee in the country was given the opportunity to officiate in World Cup and other international tournaments. This tide must change. We suggest that NFF should invest more in referees knowledge of football game.
IN addition, infrastructures should be improved upon in the country. Most stadia are in state of decrepit, our stadia must be improved upon like it is in normal climes.
TO say more, in the new football league, the watchword is the health safety of all footballers, officials and referees and spectators during matches. They all must be tested a week before any match for coronavirus defection and anyone continue to have contacted the virus must be isolated and made to observe all COVID-19 protocol.
FINALLY, spectators must be gradually introduced to the stadia, so as, to improve the economy of the country which presently is bleeding from COVID-19

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