Nigerian Investors Wanted: A tale of Enyimba FC and Sterling Bank

By Post Nigeria June 18, 2015 18:54

Nigerian Investors Wanted: A tale of Enyimba FC and Sterling Bank

Farriel Allaputa, The Head of Media, Enyimba Internationall Football Club of Aba, has lamented the trend of big companies in Nigeria, choosing to partner with international football clubs and shirking the clubs playing in the domestic leagues.

Allaputa who condemned this poor trend in an interview with Post Nigeria stated that for unknown reasons a situation had arisen where “consumer companies in Nigeria, banks and telecom companies prefer to partner with foreign organizations.”

He went on to bemoan this approach to sponsorship saying that perhaps “they assume consumers would connect more with the foreign brands.”

Recently, media reports claimed that Nigerian business mogul, Aliko Dangote, insisted that soon he will have “enough time and enough resources” to buy Arsenal Football Club, whatever the price. This is seen by many as, leaving Nigerian football to suffer.

While reacting to the said interest, football lovers in the country asked Dangote to buy into one of the local league clubs in order to help the growth of soccer, while others urged him to give support for sports at the grassroot instead of investing in a foreign team that would likely cost him more.

Despite the continued calls from football stakeholders in Nigeria for better sponsorship deals, Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s richest has insisted on buying the English Premiership Club, Arsenal without the thought of his country at heart.

While refuting lack of faith by Nigerian companies in domestic clubs, the Enyimba media head told Post Nigeria that Nigerian clubs and Enyimba in particular have the capacity to give investors the value for their investments.

    “Enyimba is a very professional football club and we remain committed to giving potential partners and sponsors our massive platform to ride on.

    “We are the biggest club in Nigeria, the most successful too and so any brand that partners with us would be tapping into our culture and tradition of success.

    “At this point we are speaking with a few companies, but we will make official announcements in the coming weeks and months.” He added.

Allaputa, recounted a failed sponsorship deal with Sterling Bank after an initial agreement stalled, expressed shock seeing the same company sponsoring an international club which would have cost them more.

Sterling Bank is currently in partnership with Arsenal with a credit card service that bears the London side’s branding. Allaputa seemed bemused at this development considering the cost the bank definitely incurred.

    “Today I see their Arsenal cards. Did they offer Arsenal less than 25m? I doubt it. Will Arsenal FC help drive the sales of these cards? No.” he stated.

He took to Twitter to vent recently:

He stated that the League Management Company, LMC with the help of professionals needed to do more to boost the league significantly in order to attract better sponsorship deals.

The poor development of the Nigerian league and football in general as a result of poor technicality and good sponsorship deal can be traced to the reason why the U-20 Flying Eagles and the Super Falcons failed to deliver in their respective World Cup outings.

The 1st NFF Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi attested to this and stressed the need for a Youth Development Coach and a Youth Football Development Programme which would only be possible and effective with the presence of a sponsorship deal.

Allaputa however observed a significant progress in the league within the last decade which has been attested to by the results of football clubs and the attendance numbers at league venues.

    “Every aspect of the league is being advanced and I’m sure over the next few years, we would be considered one of the best leagues, if not the best league in Africa, in terms of organization, finance, security and talent.” He added.

Speaking on Enyimba’s culture of producing stars just as it produced world class players like Vincent Enyeama, Obinna Nwaneri, Emeka Nwanna, Ayaya, he stressed that philosophy of the club is building youths to world class level.

    “The philosophy of our club now is youth, recruiting and giving young players opportunities to play on the big stages. Naturally, it would take a while for these players to reach the levels you’re referring to, but they would come good”. He said

He noted that the current star of the club, the high scoring Mfon Udoh, was proof that the club still has the right quality of players to help us win titles.

The question still remains what can the likes of Udoh do to convince heavyweights like Dangote show support for Nigerian clubs?