Hearty cheers to the Super Eagles, their crew and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) for winning the Nations cup nineteen years after their last victory in Tunisia ’94. The euphoria that greeted the victory is at its apogee with accolades and rewards by the federal and state governments as well as corporate organisations.
The gesture is truly commendable and richly deserved, but we must get back to brass-tacks. We are always competition- or tournament-driven, rather than systemic, in our planning. The national team is currently a beautiful bride and as such we should latch on it by leveraging the asset to attract sponsors in the way and manner football associations in other climes do. The likes of the English and South African football associations come to mind – from kit sponsors to other merchandising paraphernalia.
The Federation has a marketing department but I am yet to see what it has garnered in terms of sponsorships and merchandising to date apart from wait on paltry subventions from the sports commission. The NFF as a matter of urgency should be self-sustaining, particularly through its marketing arm, by attracting sponsors in all ramifications.
Sponsorships, merchandising and friendly games should be the key money spinners for the NFF, from deals garnered from kits and other memorabilia. I am aware we have a current deal with ADIDAS for our jerseys but not quite sure of the tenure of the contract as well as its financial worth. Same goes for replica jerseys for teeming soccer fans. At the outset of the Nations cup in South Africa, none could be readily found and those that were available were not genuine. The football-
governing body should have designated shops for sale of same as well as flags, mufflers and banners and the revenue garnered therefrom will be immense and can be ploughed back.
The NFF should have large and intermediate corporates (be they multinational or local) identify with the team, but it must be a win-win for both parties so that neither party is left short-changed. The NFF, or NFA as it was then called, has been known to have a penchant for not respecting contracts entered into, and a couple of the corporates are guilty of same where they do not pay for the marketing properties they bought. This affects reputation and ultimately the marketability of the brand. In addition, transparency and accountability should be their watchword.
Friendlies during the FIFA open window should be encouraged, and they need not be grade ‘A’ teams as such games are meant for team building/blending and harnessing talent. The NFF should equally bear in mind that the Super Eagles are not the only brand to latch onto but the age group teams as well – Under-17, Under-19, and Under-23, to mention but a few – as these teams are feeder teams for the senior national team and the success of the one percolates to the other.
Suffice it to say that the brand equity and reputational capital of the NFF and by extension the national team have taken a quantum leap in the last four weeks. The onus is on our football administrators to leverage on this positive development. Football is big business and we should treat it as such. Hopefully, our glorious years are back and here to stay.
Comments are welcome via my twitter handle @Adeadefeko