Nigeria: Lack of TV-Friendly Pitches Our Greatest Challenge, says Nigeria Premier League

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The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) said last week in Abuja that its greatest challenge in the outgoing season was lack of television-friendly pitches. Kwame Arthur, Special Assistant (Technical) to the NPL Chairman, Chief Oyuki Obaseki, said the league body had made strong efforts to ensure the situation improved.

"I must confess that the most tasking challenge for us this season has been the issue of good playing pitches but we have made concerted efforts to have television-friendly pitches. This is because we are aware that we must have good pitches for the league to attract sponsors, spectators and quality players," he said.

Arthur, a former Executive Secretary, League Football Club Proprietors Association of Nigeria, said courses and seminars were held on pitches by the NPL as part of efforts to salvage the situation. "There was one coordinated by the Groundsman at the Wembley Stadium, England, and other local ones. All were geared toward making our pitches better than they are," he said.

The NPL had held the courses and seminars at the beginning of and mid-way into the 2008/2009 season. It invited experts from Nigeria and abroad to impart knowledge to groundsmen at the clubs in the Globacom Premier League. Arthur said the NPL also donated related items to all the clubs in order to assist them in maintaining lush pitches. "We gave out sprinklers and mowers in the attempt to ensure we continuously have pitches that will remain green for our matches," he said.

Arthur, however, observed that the NPL's efforts had not yielded the desired fruit in spite of the huge financial investment and efforts. "Although we have achieved some measure of success, we must admit that things have not been as it should be since we have not achieved what we want. This is because almost all of the pitches are owned by governments and there is a limit to the level of effort or control that can be exercised on them," he said.

(source : Daily Trust)