By Joan Iwuchukwu
Shaba Al Sahel, Lebanese based defender Andrew Ikefe has given reasons why Lebanese league is a step ahead of the Nigeria premier league.
In an all bared interaction with journalists on a WhatsApp platform ‘Naija Footballers Forum’. The Kaduna born player from Delta State, Andrew Ikefe, who once plied his football trade in the Nigeria premier league with the likes of Niger Tornadoes, Kaduna United, kwara United and Plateau United had a lot to churn out that Nigeria league need to do to be up there with other countries.
He equally spoke about how culture and language barrier was one of his difficult moments when he first arrive Lebanon.
“I moved to the Lebanese league because I wanted a fresh challenge .
Its every player’s choice to move or stay where they’re .
For me,the Lebanese league presents another interesting piece of challenge.
The language barrier at first, the technical set up and the culture and environment was part of the early challenges.
Adaptation is the innate character of man and as a professional, you don’t have a choice but to adapt by trying to know more about your new culture, teammates,community and how the game is played there.
The Lebanese league is more funded in sponsorship and management but the NPFL is upcoming considering the 100 million naira cash prize for the winners this season by the IMC.
Like I said earlier, both leagues have very quality players but structure can easily be determined by level of sponsorship and management of players, technical staffs, fan base and playing facilities.
In terms of structure, the Lebanese League is a little step above that of the npfl even though there are a number of great football structures in the npfl that can easily compete with that of the Lebanese league. Players are paid better in Lebanese.
To make Nigeria League a better league,
First thing is to improve on officiating by making refereeing a more independent venture.
Success in officiating will attract more sponsors who will believe that good recruitment will guarantee them results anywhere ( Home and away).
Provision of adequate security and enacting of punitive measures for offending clubs, players or fans is very key.
This will equally improve fans turnout on match days .
Most importantly again, a robust television set up and coverage across all match venues will help in marketing while prospective sponsors flood in to improve structures, players and staff remuneration and the league’s overall standard. ” He stated
Shabab Al Sahel finished fourth last season. And Andrew, who’s contract was extended by another year, feels that they will give it their all to improve in the position in the coming season.