Awogu: Nigerian Premier League Has Grown

first_imgThe General Manager of Super Sports, Felix Awogu, has hailed the League Management Company, LMC, for giving Nigerian football fans a league to behold.In a chat with journalists in his office, Awogu said this season’s league has been one of the best in recent years.“This is the best I have seen in a long time. The league has grown; there have been more wins in the league this season than any in our history. The records are there to cross-check. Though, there have been little issues of violence but not as bad as it used to be. These are little hiccups.This is the first time Super sports have done a direct deal with the league. We have gone through third parties before now, but for the first time in the last one year, we have decided to say, ‘let’s work with the league directly, and it is paying off, and we are very happy, and we are going to continue to work in that direction,” Awogu said.Asked if he backs the idea of mid-week matches in our league considering the state of our roads in the country.“I do. First and foremost, you have to look at the fact that midweek matches, especially Friday matches which are very unique have attracted more fans to the stadia than the 4pm matches. It’s an innovation, they have to keep trying things. For the first time, the average attendance in the Nigeria league has hit 15,000. Even the EPL is just about 20,000. There is a growth pattern in the league which we should commend. It is something I will always hit my chest and say yes, I think we have delivered and added value to Nigeria.Awogu indeed frowned over none payment of players’ salaries, saying any one that cannot pay the salaries of players have no business in the league.“Even if they are owned by the government, if government cannot afford it, government should let it go. Get investors to take over. We have small teams like Ikorodu United, which pays salaries as at when due and manages its structure appropriately. They fly the team when they have to fly them to attend matches. Why can’t other teams replicate that? To us, it was an ideal team and when we see teams like Ifeanyi Uba FC, which is a privately owned team, we see El-Kanemi, which has returned to the base, flying for their games, so why can’t they replicate it?“I am of the opinion that it is time the Nigeria teams go on to the stock exchange, sit back and let investors take control. Let the fans own the teams and once they do that, there will be a strong synergy between the fans and the clubs and then the attendance will grow, merchandising will grow. Like I pointed out, is it now time that clubs start hiring a marketing team, a brand manager? For a team like Enyimba FC, two times African champions, what have they done with their brand? These are some of the things that team holistically have to look at and I think it’s is a big job for the LMC,” Awogu said.The Supersports boss craves for the best team to win the league. “We are supporters of the league; we support every team in the league. We want the best team that can represent Nigeria appropriately and possibly win in the continent. It has been a long time since Enyimba won the CAF Champions League and there’s a lot of money there. You win the CAF Champions League, you get about 2 million USD, you go for the international championship, you get about 10 million USD, it is a huge investment inflow into the Nigerian economy if we can get a team to qualify to win the championship in Africa and also go for the World Club Cup. To us, that will be massive. It’s not just about the LMC, it’s about the federation and the Ministry of Sports putting heads together and seeing how these things will work,” he advised.He also threw more light on some of the challenges Supersports is faced with when covering matches in troubled areas like the North-east.“Security is improving and for the first time in four years, three major roads were opened in Maiduguri. So, things are changing. If the roads are being opened in Maiduguri, it means our Outside Broadcasting; OB vans will be able to drive into Maiduguri. If you look at an OB van for instance, it will probably cost you about 10m dollars to acquire a standard one with high definition compliments.“Our roads are not the best in the world, but we have been all over Nigeria. We were in Kano to cover some matches and shows highlights from Maiduguri. Not that we are not there but it is not yet time to move the OB facilities. If peace returns, which we have been praying for, I think the first thing we will do is take ‘Let’s Play’ with my team to go and give the children some football, let them have something to identify with, let them find some solace, some joy, after many years of stress,” he noted.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram • Backs mid-week matchesBy Kunle Adewale last_img read more

HARPS PREPARE FOR CUP SHOWDOWN WITH STIFF LEAGUE TEST IN LONGFORD

first_imgWith the season fast approaching its end, Finn Harps make the trip to Longford on Saturday evening with all the pressure on the home side (kick-off 7.45pm).For the second season in a row, Longford look like they have thrown away the chance of automatic promotion as the season enters the final straight.For Finn Harps, promotion looks like it has gone for another year and Peter Hutton’s side will travel to Longford on Saturday with one eye already on the following weeks FAI Cup Quarter-Final against Drogheda United at Finn Park. “This weekend’s clash with Longford will be a good test but one we must look forward to,” said Hutton earlier this week.“We have a good record against them and we hope that continues. Longford are still very much in the promotion hunt and will view each game now as a must win. We on the other hand must look to the cup as our main priority now so we should go and enjoy the game but continue to finish the league campaign as strong as possible.”Last Saturday, Harps came out on the wrong side of a five goal game in Cobh against a side who they had knocked out of the Cup in the same St. Colmans Park venue just six days earlier.“Whilst we were disappointed with the result I was happy with the level of performance in general,” said Hutton of the 3-2 defeat at the Cork venue. “Defensively we gifted the three goals with some slack play and should have done better in preventing situations developing higher up the pitch. We got off to a great start with a really well worked goal with a real footballing passage of play down our right side which was finished well by Pat McCann. Cobh then got an equalizer from a very dubious penalty when young Kynan Rocks went down very easily in the box.“We managed though to take the lead again with a well taken goal by young Shane McGinty from the edge of the box but again we couldn’t hold on after Kynan Rocks was allowed to get away from three of our defenders to set up Stanton for Cobh’s second equalizer.“The second half we dominated possession for long spells and had a few chances but we failed to deal with a long punt forward that caught our defence on their heels and young Stanton broke free to grab what proved to be the decisive goal. Overall we were disappointed with the defeat and there are areas in which we were poor but performance wise I thought that given the amount of changes made to the starting 11, I was pleased and took a lot of positives.”As Hutton said, he made wholesale changes from the team which had won in Cobh earlier in the week.“I felt that given Monday’s replay, the journey involved and in particular the potential of a few confrontations given the nature of Monday’s game I decided now was an opportune time to freshen things up and change the personnel,” explained Hutton for his reasons for all the changes to personnel. “The vast majority of those that came in had for different reasons not played much recently but deserved some game time as they too have been working hard in training.”Hutton may decide to continue to rest some of his key players on Saturday ahead of the Cup quarter-final. Doubts hang over the fitness of Tommy McMonagle (foot) and Johnny Bonner (knee) and they are unlikely to be risked.In the three previous meetings with Longford this season, Harps hold the upper hand with two wins and a draw. Harps have won on each of their previous three visits to Longford despite having won only once there in ten games prior to last season.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TEAM NEWSSuspended: None.Doubtful: Tommy McMonagle (foot), Johnny Bonner (knee).Injured: None.Form Guide (last six league games)Finn Harps: L-W-L-W-L-L (6 pts)Longford Town: L-L-D-L-W-L (4 pts)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Last six away games against Longford Town13-Aug-10 – Longford Town 1-0 Finn Harps (First Division)03-Jun-11 – Longford Town 0-0 Finn Harps (FAI Cup)09-Jul-11 – Longford Town 3-2 Finn Harps (First Division)14-Apr-12 – Longford Town 1-3 Finn Harps (First Division)11-Aug-12 – Longford Town 0-1 Finn Harps (First Division)11-May-13 – Longford Town 2-3 Finn Harps (First Division)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Finn Harps Goalscorers 2013Kevin McHugh – 9 (2 in FAI Cup)Sean McCarron – 8 (1 in FAI Cup)Michael Funston – 4 (1 in FAI Cup)Keith Cowan – 3 (1 in FAI Cup)Mark Forker – 2Thomas McMonagle – 2Pat McCann – 1Shane McGinty – 1Lee Toland – 1 (in FAI Cup)Paul McVeigh – 1 (in FAI Cup)Thomas McBride – 1 (in League Cup)Matt Harkin – 1 (in League Cup)James Doherty – 1 (in League Cup)Marc Brolly – 1 (in League Cup)Aaron O’Hagan – 1 (in League Cup)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Finn Harps Results 2013 (Harps goalscorers in brackets)31-Aug-13 – AL – Cobh Ramblers 3-2 Finn Harps (McCann, McGinty)26-Aug-13 – FAI – Cobh Ramblers 0-4 Finn Harps (McHugh, Toland, McVeigh, Funston)23-Aug-13 – FAI – Finn Harps 1-1 Cobh Ramblers (McHugh)16-Aug-13 – AL – Finn Harps 0-2 Waterford United09-Aug-13 – AL – Finn Harps 2-0 Salthill Devon (Forker 2)02-Aug-13 – AL – Athlone Town 1-0 Finn Harps26-Jul-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 1-0 Wexford Youths (McHugh)19-Jul-2013 – AL – Mervue United 4-0 Finn Harps12-Jul-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 0-0 Longford Town28-Jun-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 2-2 Cobh Ramblers (Funston, Cowan)28-Jun-2013 – AL – Waterford United 3-0 Finn Harps14-Jun-2013 – AL – Salthill Devon 2-1 Finn Harps (Funston)08-Jun-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 2-3 Athlone Town (Funston, Cowan)31-May-2013 – FAI – Finn Harps 2-1 Wexford Youths (Cowan, McCarron)24-May-2013 – AL – Wexford Youths 2-1 Finn Harps (McCarron)20-May-2013 – LC – Finn Harps 1-1 Derry City (O’Hagan) – Derry win 6-5 on penalties17-May-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 1-0 Mervue United (McCarron)11-May-2013 – AL – Longford Town 2-3 Finn Harps (McCarron, McHugh, McDonagh og.)04-May-2013 – AL – Cobh Ramblers 2-2 Finn Harps (McHugh, McCarron)26-Apr-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 0-1 Waterford United19-Apr-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 1-0 Salthill Devon (McMonagle)12-Apr-2013 – AL – Athlone Town 1-0 Finn Harps05-Apr-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 0-0 Wexford Youths29-Mar-2013 – AL – Mervue United 2-2 Finn Harps (McMonagle, McHugh)23-Mar-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 1-0 Longford Town (McHugh)15-Mar-2013 – AL – Finn Harps 4-1 Cobh Ramblers (McCarron 2, McHugh 2)08-Mar-2013 – AL – Waterford United 1-1 Finn Harps (McCarron)03-Mar-2013 – LC – Mayo League 1-4 Finn Harps (Harkin, Doherty, Brolly, McBride)HARPS PREPARE FOR CUP SHOWDOWN WITH STIFF LEAGUE TEST IN LONGFORD was last modified: September 6th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:CUPfinn harpsLeagueLongford TownPeter Huttonlast_img read more