Chief Executive Officer of Vandrezzer Energy Limited, owners of Vandrezzer FC, Joe Udofia, says more private sector investments in the Nigerian league system will help change the narrative of club football in the country.
Addressing some fans during an inspection tour of Ikot Ekpene Stadium, where Vandrezzer FC will be playing their home matches in the upcoming season, the business mogul said leaving club football business in government hands is counterproductive.
“Here (in Nigeria), most clubs are owned by the government. Government cannot run clubs. The state of pitches in the country is an indicator that government cannot do it,” he said.
Due to a lack of income-generating ventures, Nigerian clubs – most of whom are owned by government – continue to struggle to get the funding they need.
Udofia believes that with the right structures in place, the Nigeria National League club can overcome funding problems and become self-sustaining in the near future.
“Get ready because our replica jerseys are coming. And when they do come, buy them; it’s a sacrifice. Support the club, so that after this season the club can stay profitable and run next season.
The Ibiono-born businessman said there’s a gulf between club football in Nigeria and the one in some African countries, adding that increased investment in Nigerian football clubs would create a lot of job opportunities.
“Congo has TP Mazembe. That club is the best thing that has happened to that country; where a player earns $10,000 (N3.6m) per week. Is there a player in Nigeria earning N3.6m per week? No player earns that much. That means that nothing is really happening in our football.
“When our football goes up, money comes in; the players are going to start making money, advertisers are going to start making money, more businesses are going to come. So, there’s a lot of work that we need to do together.”