Nigerian players will continue to look for ways to move to foreign clubs if they are not given the opportunity to play for the senior national team, Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) board has said.
Canvassing opportunities for home-based players in the Super Eagles, the board said the presence of local stars in the national team will stimulate aspirations of the players to stay in the country rather than seeking clubs outside.
In a communique after NPFL’s inaugural board and staff retreat in Abuja, which was attended by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Ibrahim Gusau, in Abuja on Wednesday, the league body said that the league must create heroes to attract fans in large numbers to the stadiums.
“It is recommended that the NPFL board will reach out to the NFF with a recommendation that NPFL players must be included in future call ups to improve their confidence and quality of play,” the communique said.
Earlier, Gusau, who declared the retreat open, commended the NPFL for the bold plan to reposition the league, saying that the NFF would support every development that would make the league competitive, attract investors and sponsors to grow domestic football.
“I came here today to lend support to this novel idea of changing the narrative about Nigerian football and will challenge the NPFL board to extend this to also having a resource session with the clubs,” Gusau said.
In his address, NPFL Chairman, Gbenga Elegbeleye, said the purpose of the retreat was to achieve the multipurpose objective of reviewing the last season’s performance with a view to improving observed lapses and building on the successful aspects.
Elegbeleye listed a number of developments in the season, including the securing of television deals on two platforms, the Over The Top (OTT) with Propel Sports Africa and Direct To Home (DTH) signed with StarTimes.
“This retreat is to provide us a cordial forum for the Board and Staff to rub minds without inhibitions and to have first-hand knowledge of how the Board can intervene to improve processes to achieve more than we have done so far,” the NPFL chairman explained.