April 22, (THEWILL) -Grassroots football in Nigeria is getting a boost with the announcement that leading Telco in the country, MTN Nigeria, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and La Liga, the men’s top professional football division in the Spanish football league system, have formed a partnership to support its development.
This support comes with the establishment of the NPFL/La Liga Under-15 Youth League in the country. The announcement was made at a press conference in Ikenne, Ogun State, on April 21, with MTN, NPFL, LaLiga, and ValueJet personnel in attendance.
The partnership will ensure that Nigerian youth football receives ongoing local and international exposure, as well as capacity building for players and coaching talent, all of which will contribute to developmental football in Nigeria.
A one-week coaching session will see seasoned La Liga coaches connect with their local counterparts on modern young coaching tactics before of the event, in addition to making the youth league more appealing. The session will benefit forty NPFL coaches, national team coaches, and other youth coaches from across the country.
The event, according to Shehu Dikko, Chairman of the League Operations Company in charge of the NPFL’s management, provides an opportunity to improve grassroots football in Nigeria.
Dikko expressed his joy for the partnership: “We are extremely delighted to have MTN as the Elite Partner and supporter of the NPFL/La Liga U-15 youth league, which has been going on since 2017. It is worthy to note that this year’s (2022) edition is the fourth.
“Some of the players who participated in the first and second editions have been called to play and captained the U17-national team and the U-20 national team, whilst others ply their trades abroad, which has been a great source of revenue for our participating clubs.
“We are excited to see a player like Akin Amoo, who is a part of the class of 2017 making the Super Eagles squad for the just-concluded World Cup play-off matches.
“This clearly depicts the enormous potential of what we are doing and now with the finest touch of MTN and the continuous exceptional support of La liga, the sky is the limit for this project”, Dikko added.
On his part, Adia Sowho, MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer, stated: “At MTN, our love for the beautiful game is palpable in our investments in Nigerian football. Our commitment to developmental football is expressed in this partnership with the NPFL.
“We aim to provide and support avenues to identify and coach the best young footballing talents in Nigeria, ultimately promoting grassroots football in Nigeria.”
Speaking on behalf of the Spanish top division, Desmond Chiji, La Liga’s Global Network Delegate for Nigeria, noted that the competition will aid the development of football in Nigeria at the grassroots level.
“It has been an interesting project right from when we started this in 2017,” Chiji said. “A journey that has seen us grow the relationship with the NPFL, and together we have made this youth tournament a masterpiece.
“We will continue to work closely together in building the future stars, and we are proud to be part of the driving force in the growth of grassroots football here in Nigeria.”
“We are excited with the partnership between La Liga, NPFL and MTN because we believe it will aid our quest to develop Nigerian football and change the face of the game in the country. The relationship between Nigeria and La Liga has been very beneficial, we have had several Nigerian players play professionally in Spain, we are pleased with this and we want the trend to continue.”
THEWILL recalls that MTN Nigeria and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), signed a collaboration agreement in 2021, making MTN Nigeria the Official Communications Partner of the Super Eagles and other national teams. MTN will carry out a number of fascinating events centred on Nigerian football as part of this collaboration, allowing football fans to enjoy the sport in a unique way.