Glo Premier League clubs have been asked to take advantage of the Elite Players Scheme introduced by the LMC since 2014 season to inject Nigerian players with specified national team caps as part of strategies to rekindle greater following for the domestic league as well as attract sponsors to the clubs.
While speaking at a recent interactive session with Sports Editors, the Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC) and NFF Vice President, Mallam Shehu Dikko noted that a number of incentives have been put in place to not only encourage the clubs but also to assist them implement ideas to bring back the fans to the games and also attract credible sponsors to the clubs.
“Last season, the Elite Players Scheme was introduced and one of the objectives was to include in our clubs’ squads, players who have made name and are popular amongst the fans and their community.
“The presence of these players just like late Rasheed Yekini did for Gateway FC, is bound to draw a good number of fans to watch them play again. On the part of the LMC, the scheme has assigned the responsibility of paying such players a certain amount which we worked out while the club can pay bonuses and any other expenses they are able to afford and the players can be registered at any time of the season for any specified period agreed with the player”, explained Dikko in response to a suggestion by Ade Ojeikere of The Nation newspaper.
The LMC Chairman revealed that so far the scheme yielded result when Sani Kaita joined Enyimba last season as his presence in Port Harcourt drew a large turnout in the match against Sharks which ordinarily hardly attracts more than a thousand. In fact anywhere Enyimba went to play fans use to come out asking after Sani Kaita.
He enumerated other incentives to include bonuses to clubs that succeed in getting more than five thousand to their home games, performance bonuses to clubs to win or draw away games aimed at assuring fans of the credibility and integrity of matches as well as financial support to clubs to maintain infrastructure mainly the pitches, dressing room and public amenities at their grounds.
He identified instability in club administration as one of the banes of the league as the club managers focus more on winning games to guarantee their tenure rather than focusing on developmental programmes due to largely no fault of theirs.