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Editorial

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Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and soccer in Nigeria recently received an unprecedented boost with the signing of a 5-year sponsorship and support deal with one of Nigeria's leading indigenous energy firms, Aiteo Group. The massive N2.5bn deal, the first in-country financial support by the oil firm to the football federation, officially started in May 2017, with an initial option to extend it by a year.

Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and soccer in Nigeria recently received an unprecedented boost with the signing of a 5-year sponsorship and support deal with one of Nigeria's leading indigenous energy firms, Aiteo Group. The massive N2.5bn deal, the first in-country financial support by the oil firm to the football federation, officially started in May 2017, with an initial option to extend it by a year.


Aiteo's remarkable intervention is a big boost to national football, which over the years has remained the only competitive game that brings Nigerians together, irrespective of tribal, religious or political differences. Nigeria Moment lauds this patriotic initiative that has since brought stability in the management of the national teams, especially the Super Eagles and Super Falcons, as shown in their superlative performances in recent times. The premier soccer league is also a major beneficiary of Aiteo's financial support.
Aiteo Group by the gesture has shown that it is indeed a true patriot. Football pundits and soccer enthusiasts say the intervention, which the energy firm say is part of its corporate social responsibility, will reignite Nigerians' passion for football, which had waned over the years due to several self-inflicted woes. It has also come at a time when the troubled nation needs such a rallying force to preach peaceful co-existence and unity amongst citizens. We commend Aiteo's management led by its Executive Vice Chairman, Mr. Benedict Peters and urge the private sector to do more for sports locally, as it remains one of the most powerful platforms for marketing and communication as well as unifying our diverse country.
It is worthy of note that the NFF had not received this magnitude of financial support before now. Over the years, private and public firms have been reluctant to fully support the football federation. Thus, the Federal Government had been left to carry the burden of exclusively funding the NFF, the attendant inadequacy of which had resulted in the shabby preparations and woeful performances of the national teams in international competitions.
There is need for the NFF to reciprocate this noble gesture by ensuring that the partnership is well nurtured to achieve the desired goals. This is essential in the face of the many financial constraints that the football federation had suffered in the past, due to its inability to meet the huge demands that go with preparations for competitive football. The NFF should explore the deal with sincerity and commitment so that prospective sponsors can see it as an organization that can be trusted with money. We are encouraged too that the football federation has acknowledged that: “This is a long-awaited injection of funds that the NFF has earnestly yearned for.” According to its Director of Media and Communications, Ademola Olajire “We are convinced that we are turning a new chapter in the Nigerian football with this agreement in place. As Aiteo Group is breaking grounds in all spheres, we share a vision of excellence to promoting the delight of football-loving Nigerians.”

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