The announcement of the N100million prize money for the Dozy Mmobuosi Foundation sponsored Super Cup for clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), initially sounded like a fairy tale, but eventually
turned out to be the groundbreaking deal needed to awaken the giant.
Considering the nature of sponsorships in recent times in Nigeria’s club football, this is clearly the real deal.
The setting became clearer and the fact that it presented the opportunity for clubs to compete in a third tournament even made it more appealing.
Since 1972, club football in the country has centered around the League and Cup.
For clubs, players and fans, it was a indeed a new experience.
All four invited teams: Enyimba, Rangers, Bendel Insurance and Rangers fitted the event as the most successful teams in the country.
Indeed, it showcased the opportunity for private sector participation in contributing to the growth of the domestic league.
The NPFL has been criticised severally for lacking sponsorship.
However, sponsorship by the Dozy Mmobuosi Foundation is a confirmation of its new state. This deal is the biggest sign of its potential and has the capacity to accelerate brand awareness and growth.
The Dozy Mmobuosi Super Cup will serve as the catalyst for a new beginning.
Christmas came early for Shooting Stars on a day bookmakers gave it to the Aba Elephants, Enyimba.
Both sides played out a draw in their first meeting and returned to the same venue 24 hours later to decide their fate.
The Ibadan side came from behind to make history as the first winner of the tournament.
Anthony Okachi announced used the opportunity to announce his readiness for the big stage as his late header prevented the match from dragging into penalties.
Although it was conceived as a-winner-takes-all contest, the sponsor eventually announced a N30 million prize for Enyimba as runner up via their Official Tweeter Handle.
In addition, all partipating teams received N10million.
Shooting Stars: N110million
Bendel Insurance: N10million
Highest Goal Scorer: N1millon
Most Valuable Player: N10million
For ambitious clubs, the Dozy Mmobuosi Super Cup presented a chance to grow their brands: boost brand awareness and visibility.
The windfall is similar to the “Boost La Liga” funds helping La Liga clubs to undergo massive turnaround and should serve as a golden opportunity to be more strategic.
It is a high quality tournament and not an all-comers-affair. Only the qualified get considered.
Every league has its “Top Four” or “Top Eight” based on history and achievement.
It is not a piece of cake for everyone
The Dozy Mmobuosi Foundation has presented an opportunity for clubs to prove they belong to a new class.
It is earned. That is what competition is all about
The good news from the organisers is the fact that the 2022/23 season presents a great opportunity for those who sincerely want to be considered.
Henceforth, the Top 8 teams will participate in the Dozy Mmobuosi Super Cup.
In the past, clubs only compete for three positions in the league: Winner, first runner up and second runner up, as the trio qualify to play in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup.
Now, five others now stand the chance to be considered for the next edition.
From a financial perspective, it offers huge bail out funds for clubs.
Moreover, it serves as additional incentives since the clubs will make more money from appearance fees and the prize money.
Add the figures to what the league will offer and clubs will become more buoyant.
For clubs used to freebies, it’s time for a rethink. Expect a fierce contest when the regular NPFL season begins.
About Ojeikere Aikhoje:
Aikhoje is a Nigerian football journalist cum PR/Brand expert, who works for Lagos based Sports PR and Sponsorship Activation agency: www.matchroom.com.
He writes about strategic brand communications/marketing and is the Founder of MatchRoom Sports Business Academy.