Photo Credit: @SportingLagos
For the first time in Nigerian football, clubs have turned to their fans to boost their chances of playing in a tournament.
The newly introduced NaijaSuper8 tournament provides a platform for nominated clubs to showcase the degree of engagement they have with their fans.
It is innovative and fans will have to decide the fate of their teams. It is a simple as that!
Forty one teams, (included 18 from the Nigeria Premier Football League), selected across six geo-political zones are in the race for the innovative tournament, which comes with exciting financial incentives on-and-off the pitch.
With fans making the decision through a voting process, it is an open contest. No team has undue advantage.
Firstly, there is a N2,000,000 incentive to clubs that make it to the playoffs in Uyo courtesy of their fans and another N3,000,000 each for three games to be play in Lagos. Indeed, it is a juicy package.
Win the tournament, grab N25million. Lose, then another N9million is guaranteed.
Back to the most important factor here; the fans must vote to get clubs to play in the Naija Super 8 tournament.
Can your club woo fans?
Creative Fan Engagement
Fan engagement is the secret to woo the fans. It is unique, only a few have been intentional about this and they play in the lower division.
For those yet to master this, nomination for Naija Super 8 provides the tonic to kick start it.
To an extent, teams in the top flight NPFL have an edge based on their history, tradition and age. However, they need more to more to feel the cash in the tournament.
How far can Enyimba’s 90k Twitter followers take the former African champions into the race?
Shooting Stars, Rivers United, Lobi Stars et al may have massive numbers on Twitter and Facebook, but these fans have to be effecetively engaged.
Interestingly, all teams are on Social Media trying to reach out to fans to do the magic.
The cash is fantastic and no club wants to be left out.
If these top NPFL sides go to sleep, second tier Nigeria National League trio of Sporting Lagos, Ikorodu City and Vandrezzer could stage a “coup” and force their way in.
Since inception, the trio have come out with creative strategies to keep their fans engaged.
Founded in 2022, Sporting Lagos has redesigned match day hospitality, with the initiative attracting a new band of young fans who easily connected with club.
On match days, the “Happy Corner” has become a force to be considered and everyone wants to be there. Away from match days, the club is innovative on Social Media to keep fan engagement on.
Truth be told, Sporting Lagos has become the destination for young fans with fresh consciousness to network on match days.
Sporting Lagos is “Building a multigenerational football club.”
Initially founded as Bolowotan FC, Ikorodu City has also raised young fans as brand believers and attracting more by the day with its innovative strategies.
Positioned as a “community club’, it drives its strength from the community.
Vandrezzer, is back in Akwa Ibom, but they’ve successfully recruited and retained fans in Lagos, who have established an emotional connection with the club.
Add the fans in Akwa Ibom, then the club could make a splash in the Naija Super 8.
Founded in 2019, it is one of the young teams with a large fan base spread across the country.
Sporting Lagos and Ikorodu City were nominated in the South West zone, while Vandrezzer contesting from the South South zone.
Voting ends in May and results will indicate how much the trio has done to win the hearts of fans to make it from their zone.
South South: 7 Clubs
- Vandrezzer (Eket, Akwa Ibom),
Others: Akwa United (Uyo, Akwa Ibom State), Bayelsa United (Yenagoa, Bayelsa State), Bendel Insurance (Benin-City, Edo State), Rivers United (Port-Harcourt, Rivers State), Rovers (Calabar, Cross Rivers State), Warri Wolves (Warri, Delta).
South West: 8 Clubs
- Ikorodu City (Ikorodu, Lagos)
- Sporting Lagos (Surulere, Lagos State)
Others: Shooting Stars Sports Club (Ibadan, Oyo State), Crown (Ogbomosho, Oyo State), Ekiti United (Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State), Remo Stars (Ikenne, Oyo State), Smart City (Surulere, Lagos State), Sunshine Stars (Akure, Ondo State).