Analysing football management globally and why Nigerian football is lagging behind

By Augustine Akhilomen

Today, football remains one of the biggest ways of generating money for any given football clubs or national teams in the world through proper management and control of the limited resources within their disposal regardless of their success on the field of play.

Although certain clubs in Europe such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) with a few to mention, are known for their excellent structures, organization (plus educational institute) and marketing strategies, which in turn bring about profit-making by way of attracting multinational organization that are willing to pitch tent with them. However, there is no argument that all these won’t have come to a success if those people behind the day-to-day running of the activities of the clubs are ‘absolutely’ not corrupt free.

Besides, the successful management of most football clubs in the world doesn’t just rest on the shoulder of the club owners alone (be it government or private) but also falls within members of staff, coaches, players, medical crew and club fans because it’s always a team affair. Liberty is given to them to exercise their responsibilities with less interference from the club owners, in a bid to achieve a common goal.

Poor management often lead to total detachment, disengagement and disruption of certain structural plans that could have been to the growth and development of a football club, something which has often caused the retrogression of Nigerian football.

In Nigeria, football is run with less vision, objectives and focus by certain individuals or group of people, which has drastically reduced our football to a level of total mess. They basically focus on how they can enrich their personal accounts to the detriment of the nation’s football.

Rather than map out a structural plan that would help not just as a means of generating funds but also create a platform for football development, they end up influencing coaches decisions in areas of player’s selection, in a bid to have ‘their’ players in the team for a tournament.

According to Atlanta Olympic gold medalist, Joseph Dosu, he says Nigerian football deserves total restructuring if the nation must be progressive.

“Football has gone beyond just a man-management and money making things that won’t allow for collective responsibility. In Nigeria, we are where we are not just because we don’t have the talents but just because some people are busy thinking of their personal interest.

“There are certain responsibilities which should have been delegated to other organ of the Nigeria Football Federation in a bid to achieve a common goal but have been smuggled by an individual so as to improve their own pockets. How then do you want our football to progress when we are not sincere?

“You can’t compare how the European team manages their football with the way we does our own here because they are two different entities. In Europe they have a structure which gives room for easy development of their plans. But in Nigeria, we could hardly point at a structure because our selfish interest. As far as I am concern, what our football needs is total restructuring if we must meet up with certain standard.”

It’s not a surprise that the Nigeria Football Federation have done little or nothing to improving the Super Eagles as a brand locally and internationally due to their poor management skills due to over reliance on government funds. Theoretically, it’s the responsibility of the marketing department of the NFF to develop a result-oriented blueprint that emphasizes more on wooing multinational companies to support the national teams.

It’s also amazing that the national teams such as the Super Eagles, Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets won’t be participating at next year’s African Championship after the team’s failure to qualify for the bi-annual tournaments. However, it’s a good news that the Super Eagles are soaring high under the tutelage of Gernot Rohr like in the old days, however, the role of the technical department have been ignored by the Nigeria Football Federation. This area is also key to the survival of a nation’s football considering the fact that, they help to assist the coaching crew on some technical tips, fill-in for errors and build a bond that helps to galvanize a team for future competitions.

In the words of former FIFA and CAF instructors, Adegboye Onigbinde, he revealed that nation’s negligence of the technical department have affected the development of football in Nigeria.

“It’s an aberration to ignore the role of a technical department in any giving football organization because of its importance in proffering solutions to certain problems. You don’t expect the head of a coaching crew to know every aspect of the game of football.

“I have said these times without numbers that the development and growth of a nation’s football depends on how their Football Association manages the role of the technical department in a bid to achieve positive results. It will be wrong to put the horse before the cart and that has always been the problem with Nigerian football.

Consequently, some of the clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) are also suffering from the same syndrome affecting the national teams because of their failure to look beyond government support for finance in their day-to-day running of activities. A serious minded club is always bent on self determination making a means for the club and not relying on what comes out of government pocket.

Teams such as Kano Pillars, Enyimba FC, Heartland, Enugu Rangers, IfeanyiUba, Warri Wolves, Akwa United, Shooting Stars, Rivers United, Sunshine Star with a few to mention, have done little or nothing to leverage with some of the big teams in Europe because of poor marketing structures; which has reduced their standard of earnings.

In all, there is more to just establishing a football club or national teams without putting into cognizance the need for proper management because the success and failure of any football club depends on they are been managed.

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