One of the topmost comedians in the country, Alli Baba, in an interview with CHARLES OGUNDIYA says Nigerians take football as a means of easing stress.
Chelsea won Champions League and the whole Nigeria erupted in wild jubilation. What can you say about people’s affiliation to foreign football in the country?
The thing is that we are in a society whereby we work very hard, and the little thing that gives us recreation is football and people look up to the clubs they support which they turn to something they use to relax. Besides that, football is a game that everybody loves.
The number of people who supported Arsenal grew when Kanu Nwankwo was there; Celestine Babayaro helped Chelsea before Mikel Obi joined the club and shut it up. Lately, Ighalo helped the numbers of Manchester United supporters in Nigeria to grow.
Clubs like Portsmouth, Leicester City, and West Brom, all get to Nigerians minds when someone from the country started playing for them. For example, most of us don’t know about Hull City, until Austin Okocha signed for them.
As soon as he signed, you saw people buying their jersey and wearing them. Anything that can present itself as a uniform platform for people to connect with works.
What can we do to replicate this followership in football to the Nigeria Professional Football League?
One thing is that foreign football sponsorship is very huge, and football management is a big thing abroad. From sponsorship to branding, the quality of production is also high, but in Nigeria it is not. We need to talk about officiating here in Nigeria, also the security of the players.
Somebody scored an equalizer and the fans want to go and attack such person, it is a big deal. A lot has to be done. We are not in a society where your economic power and earning ability let you take on all those kind of things like football. Not much of our football is shown on television, and how many people have television to watch those matches, a lot need to be done.
But the NFF is trying at the moment to push the narratives, with time, it will come good.
Amaju Pinnick is trying his best but I will like to say that administration has been our biggest problem. Because here, if N100, 000 is voted for a football team, they will probably get like N30, 000 of that money, the remaining will then go to the admin, the managers, the officials to make use of the N70, 000.
You will see the officials looking better than the players who are the main actors. The footballers should enjoy the dividends of the game more than the administrators. This will encourage them to get better. There’s need for reversal of roles and responsibilities, the things will get better.
You were in Abeokuta for the Dr. Smile Unusual Comedy Show, the sixth edition. What can you say about this young man?
This is the sixth offering, he is a humble guy and hardworking guy, he has been calling me to come, I like his drive, which means he knows what he wants, and knows how to get it. He is a strong artist and I really like him.
I love his creative ability especially to fill the space for humour and entertainment in Abeokuta. He has been very persistent, very consistent and a very educated young man.