Super Eagles and Heartland goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa says the notion that players in the Nigeria Professional Football League are mostly impoverished and live from hand to mouth is erroneous and must be discarded.
Professional footballers are often associated with lavish wages and stupendously expensive lifestyles but many Nigerians think the exact opposite of domestic players.
The overwhelming narrative around home-based players – perpetuated by media reports – is one of poor remuneration and months of unpaid salaries.
This reinforces an image in the minds of many Nigerians of domestic players who are barely able to make ends meet on what they earn.
Many Nigerians are also unaware of the League Management Company’s stipulation of a minimum monthly salary of one hundred and fifty thousand naira for topflight players.
With no counter-narrative to challenge these stories, many Nigerians have come to accept the image of impoverished as true especially since the players themselves are loathe to disclose any financial details of their deals.
But Ezenwa who was part of the Super Eagles squad that won bronze at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt says the reality is far different from what many Nigerian have been led to believe.
In a chat with Nigerian football expert, Tobi Adepoju on Instagram Live, the Eagles mainstay said NPFL players earn good enough salaries to live reasonably comfortable lifestyles by Nigerian standards.
“NPFL players are not poor, we are rich. It is all about how you manage your income but we are not poor,” the Super Eagles goalkeeper said.
“The average player can receive one hundred and fifty thousand naira in the league, with some receiving two hundred thousand, five hundred thousand, seven hundred and fifty thousand and even one million naira.
“It’s all about how you manage your income and strategise it.
“In my perspective, we are rich. If you receive up to one million naira a month and you’re unable to live normally then something is wrong with that person,” the former Enyimba and Katsina United goalkeeper concluded.