Planning is a process involved in the conscious application of thoughts defined as a set of activities or actions toward achieving desired goals or outputs using necessary resources within a defined timeline. It is a deliberate activities embarked on by individuals, groups, companies or governments in order to proffer solutions to identified problems or create positive economic values and effects from identified environmental opportunities.
According to Business Dictionary; the planning process identifies the goals or objectives to be achieved, develop or formulates strategies to achieve them, arranges or creates the means (resources) required and implements all necessary activities in the appropriate sequence to ensure success. Such activities are directing, monitory and controlling. When properly carried out, planning more often than not ensures success all round.
It is very significant to say that planning is borne of vision. Vision is the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be. It is that ability to anticipate that creates the platform for planning to actualize that which currently does not exists and bring to reality conceived ideals.
The need to put the frameworks of vision and planning together to enhance the Nigerian football space has never been more urgent than now when our country is struggling to get out of the worst economic recession in 30 years. Football offers a great opportunity to enhance societal value and deepen economic progress. This is witnessed virtually across all nations of the world.
The models that compels the greatest attention and the need for emulation are the top European Leagues which are valued tens of billions of dollars. European football leagues of England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal boast of clubs that are richer and much more impactful than some major Nigerian companies in terms of economic contribution, social/societal rejuvenation and community empowerment!
To put this in proper perspectives; combined values of the 10 richest football clubs in the world is about 67% of the size of Nigeria’s Foreign Reserve! Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Manchester City generated revenue in excess of $3.24 billion in 2016 alone. At today’s official CBN exchange rate; this is N989 billion. This is more than Lagos State budget of N813 billion for 2017 and represents about 14% of the Federal Government budget of N7.29 trillion. These statistics clearly shows the significance and major financial realities of these European clubs and the size of the ‘economies’ they control relative to our country calls to attention the need for revamping our football and local league.
The pictures painted above should form the platform for the vision of a robust football league that is properly set up, managed, cultivated, grown and controlled. It can be done and it must be done.
What are the things required? We need what is called the Basic Minimum Acceptable Standards (BMACS). This sets out the requirement for clubs in the top to the lowest divisions. No club should be left out. The standard should also cover amateur football and academies. Quality is usually grown from the ground up and the proper regulation of clubs or academies not in the top cadre is quite critical to the qualities and quantities of players that will be available within the ecosystem.
The second thing is to stimulate the buy-in of all stakeholders. Rules and regulations governing each division must be made available to all concerned. Sanctions/penalties for non-compliance and rewards for adherence should be known to all participants. Having these in place ensures that there will be no recourse to the prevalent practice where clubs flout rules and claim they are not aware of the implications when sanctioned.
With proper planning and frameworks put in place, Nigerian football can become the envy of many. It is a powerful tool to re-engineer our torn societal fabrics and engage otherwise indigent but talented individuals.
We have the population and the sport is without doubt the most popular in the country. When security and infrastructures are put in place, nothing stops a family going to watch a live match on a Saturday afternoon and when our stadiums start filling up again; it will be discovered that our country itself is on a path to recovery.