Chairman of Nigeria Premier League, NPL, Rumson Baribote believes that despite all the shortcomings, the local league is still developing.
The 2011/2012 season ended on Friday with Kano Pillars winning the league after garnering a total of 63 points from 36 matches. They were subsequently crowned the Nigerian champions in the presence of Kano State’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Umar Abdullahi, the state’s Commissioner of Education, Umar Doguwa and his counterpart in the Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. Yinusa Danguwani.
Baribote said that there is every cause for his board to celebrate, that the league ended well as many positive developments happened, which could be seen as a plus to his tenure as the chairman of the NPL.
“The confidence which the Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi has on the players in the league is a good testimony that the league is not bad afterall. “Many players from the league have been given more playing time in the senior national team now than any other administration in the NPL. The local players, who are now referred to as Home Eagles are justifying their places in the team. I’m so happy with this development,” the Bayelsa State-born football administrator said.
Baribote also said that the recent rating by FIFA, which ranked Nigerian league as the 24th best in the world is another testimony that the local league is fast developing.
FIFA ranked the NPL as the strongest African league for 2012 and 24th in the world. The classification was done by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFHHS), which assessed the performances of the clubs from 1 January to 10 July this year. The IFHHS added points won in all continental competitions by the five best-placed clubs of the NPL.
“This called for celebration and a signal that we are on the right path. Another good thing coming out from the just concluded season is that we finished the league earlier than expected. This and many other things showed that if all hands are on deck, the Nigerian league will be at par with rest of the world. I strongly believe that we’ll get sponsors for the league soon.
“I will only ask for the understanding of Nigerians and their support. I believe we’ll get there,” he said.
—Taiwo Adelu/Ijebu Ode