After expanding into the UAE with academies in April 2015, Spain’s top-tier league, La Liga is looking to set its eyes to Nigeria by following in the same direction. To facilitate the move, La Liga joins efforts with Nigerian sports marketing outfit, Legacy Sports who shall focus on growing La Liga’s profile in the country. Some of the moves they intend on making include online campaigns, opening viewing centres and putting together special events while also bringing coaches in from Spain to interact with Nigerian talents.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Sports, Phillip Diwan, the partnership shall become another avenue for Nigerian players to take their talent outside the country. He said:
We also plan to start a football academy in Lagos this year. The academy will take care of players who show potential in both soccer as well as academics. We will offer them full scholarship to further their education while they play,”
It is great to see collaboration with one of the top leagues in the world but it is also high time, Nigerian leagues step up their youth recruitment efforts and hold on to the talent the country has available for as long as possible. By doing so, the profile of Nigerian football rises because we begin to create starlets who attract fans to the stadiums en masse.
The partnership deal with Legacy Sports seems one sided in that La Liga and Spanish football seems to reap most of the benefits. Nigeria gains little if anything at all because its young talent is being pilfered and attention is being sent towards Spain. A deal which could enhance the game of football in Nigeria and Spain is the establishment of affiliations between Nigerian and Spanish teams. By doing so, Nigerian teams benefit financially as they are paid a little amount every year which may leave no heavy mark on the budgets of Spanish teams but does a wealth of good for the the financially struggling Nigerian Premier League as a result of the crashing Naira.
On the side of the Spanish sides, they benefit from first hand knowledge of new talent and could have first option clauses on an ever teeming talent pool. Furthermore, it could serve as the beginning of a development of long lasting relationships as well as a league where youth players may be sent on short term loans considering the high level of competitiveness.
It is important to acknowledge that the deal is being made by La Liga whereas the deal for affiliations will need to be on a team-by-team basis and cannot be mandated by the league however, the partnership with Legacy Sports is an exploitative deal which frankly serves as an opportunity for Nigerian talent to be made available at knockdown prices. Better care must be taken to look out for our league.