• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Mikel rates South African league higher, charges NPFL to improve


Former Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has rated the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) ahead of all the leagues in sub-Saharan Africa.

The South African Premier Soccer League comprises 16 clubs competing from August to May in a 10-month active football calendar and is rated as one of the top five leagues in Africa.

The South African league has one of the biggest television rights deals with SuperSports, enabling it to generate millions of dollars in yearly revenue.

The 36-year-old Nigerian icon won 89 caps for Nigeria, played in two World Cups and helped the Super Eagles win the 2013 AFCON before announcing his retirement from international football in 2019.

In a video chat with Soccer Laduma, Mikel said the South African league is better organized and managed.

Read also Nigerian football star, Mikel Obi hangs up his boot at 35

“I think it’s not the mentality; it’s your organization. Your organization is better than our organization,” Mikel told Soccer Laduma, as quoted by Ghanaian journalist Ibrahim Sannie Daara.

“If you look at the South African League, it is that good where a player doesn’t have to go abroad to make ends meet to help his family.

The former Chelsea legend also called on the authorities of the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) to emulate the South African League.

“It is something we (Nigerians) have been crying out; we want to improve our league, and we know we can get there.”

Mikel, a former Plateau United before moving to Europe, where he continued his professional career, charged the management of the NPFL to improve the facilities and create a better environment where the players could thrive.

“Because we have so much talent. We want to grow and improve the standard of our league. The facilities for these players and the younger ones who aspire to play in the Premier League.

“We have to create an environment where they feel comfortable to improve, and that is something the (South Africans) have, and that is pretty much the difference.”

Mikel made 249 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, which ended when he left Stamford Bridge in 2017.

He won the Champions League and Europa League, two Premier Leagues, three FA Cups and the League Cup during his time with the London club.