Naija Super 8, the recently unveiled football tournament for Nigerian clubs, will greatly boost fan interest in the domestic game.
This is the view of Jenkins Alumona, Managing Director of Flykite Productions, organisers of the tournament. Alumona spoke as a guest on Naija Made, a programme on SuperSport. He explained that fans will determine, through a voting process billed to start on 10 April, the teams that will participate in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
He noted that this approach will challenge Nigerian football clubs to embark on fan engagement initiatives that will elicit fan affinity and votes.
“Football is about the fans. It is not about the money. So, if a club has money, has a big size and plays good football, but does not have the fans, it will be tough to stay at the top. What we are doing with Naija Super 8 is to involve the fans.
“The fans will vote for their favourite teams across the six geo-political zones. Voting commences on April 10 on the Naija Super 8 website www.naijasuper8.ng . The 12 top ranking teams based on votes will participate in a play-off. The two top ranked teams from each geo-political zone will face each other in a play-off in Uyo and winners of the match will qualify for the Naija Super 8,” Alumona explained.
He advised the teams shortlisted by the tournament’s Advisory Committee to ensure they enlist fan support in a bid to garner votes that will see them qualify for the play-off stage.
When asked about the possibility of distance becoming a barrier for the fans of participating teams, as the tournament will be hosted in Lagos, Alumona disclosed that Flykite Productions will provide accommodation for 50 guaranteed fans and the sum of N1 million welfare package for each of the teams.
He also noted that football across the world thrives on football passion, adding that teams should endeavour to appeal to their existing fan base and make provisions to convey them to the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos State where the tournament will be held.
Naija Super 8 is an off-season football tournament, which is set to hold between June 17-25 in Lagos. The participating teams are expected to earn at least N9 million and the winners will win N25 million attached to the trophy.