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    Friday, January 26, 2024

    GTI: Burden Bearer for NPFL Development

    Special Feature

    In one of the famous quotes of Greek mathematician and inventor, Archimedes, regarding the Law of the Lever, he said, "Give me but one firm spot on which to stand and I will move the earth."

    According to history, every generation of humanity has always struggled to invent or re-invent something beneficial to society thereby leaving a legacy behind for posterity to remember them. Be it in business, technology, sports and education to mention but a few, the story remains the same. It was this same vision to accomplish something for Nigerians that also got GTI Asset Management and Trust Limited (GTI) to commence a tedious journey to restructure and reposition our Nigeria Premier Football League.

    As noted earlier in this serial, GTI needed to salvage an almost hopeless situation in the history of Nigerian football thereby creating that spot in history according to Archimedes in which the investment banking firm stood to move our beautiful game to the next level.

    To kick-start the process, an epoch-making event was held on March 22, 2022, when GTI officially announced its magnificent entry into Nigeria’s football ecosystem following its successful launch of The Nigeria Football Fund (TNFF).

    However, immediately after the launch, the entire financial and sports management experts of GTI Group never looked back in ensuring that the huge dream they have for our elite football comes to fruition. From their findings, it was clear to GTI that there were fundamental issues lacking in Nigeria’s elite league prior to their engagement as strategic partners to the NPFL. Notable among them were the issues of sustainable liquidity and reliable transparent structure that can stand the test of time. Other discoveries were poor playing infrastructure; lack of visibility of the League matches and low officiating integrity.

    TNFF was aimed at building a “Football Economy” for the transformation of the sports sector. Aside from the aforementioned, the Fund promotes an investment culture among sports enthusiasts and investing public with an opportunity for them to earn returns from their investment. The multiplier impact will drive a cycle of growth (value-chain effects) across several other sectors like Tourism, Broadcasting, Technology, Gaming, Media, Hospitality, Transportation and Merchandising to mention but a few.  The end result of these surely will lead to increased economic activities, increase in employment opportunities, rise in disposable income and significant contribution to GDP.

    With less than two years of the existence of TNFF, a common question, “Wouldn't you rather invest in TNFF” has kept reverberating in the minds of interested investors.

    Today, the NPFL is currently enjoying relative peace because of the way and manner financial issues are transparently handled in the administration of the league.

    On the issue of visibility of the elite league, GTI as burden bearer secured the services of Propel Sports Africa at the end of the 2022/2023 season to ensure our matches are viewed on mobile devices locally and globally on the OTT platform. This singular action attracted more sponsors to the NPFL as they saw the elite league as a veritable product that has the capacity to add value to their products and services. Then, a few weeks into the 2023/2024 season, telecommunication giants MTN and StarTimes followed suit to enhance the broadcast of league matches.

    In terms of officiating the NPFL matches, one can comfortably say that there is a remarkable improvement in this regard.

    In summary, the management of the NPFL has improved tremendously, thanks to the effort of GTI as strategic partners. Therefore, the journey of taking the league to greater heights is being pursued vigorously as football stakeholders and analysts in the country anticipate that in the next few years, NPFL will become the best-organized league in Africa and also rank among the most glamorous leagues in the world.

    The effect of the partnership and support of the Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye-led NPFL Board has shown a positive trajectory in the latest ranking of NPFL by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) for 2023. The position of NPFL has improved from 77th  to 73rd in the world ranking and has also moved from 10th  to 7th in the African ranking. It is expected that the ranking will continue to improve yearly in view of the various efforts made to transform the league.

    The time is now for corporate Nigeria to secure sponsorship deals with the NPFL and for the public to invest in TNFF and earn alpha returns on their investment. This is an opportunity to participate in the shared dream to transform our football ecosystem for mutual benefits.

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