It’s exactly 85 days since a ball was last kicked in Nigeria’s top flight league following the suspension of all football activities around the country occassioned by the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged the whole world, and fans of Akwa United and other football enthusiasts in Akwa Ibom State have voiced out how much they have missed league football.
The fans in a series of phone calls and messages to the media department of Akwa United always enquire about when Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL will get back in full steam and also appealed to the federal government to do more in combating the coronavirus pandemic to ensure life gets back to normal.
One of the fans Mr. Benny Etukudo said missing NPFL actions and football in general for such a long time makes life boring for him.
“Life is really boring without the excitement of watching the Nigeria Professional Football League. We understand the threat posed by COVID-19 but I think we are lucky in Nigeria, just like in many other African countries that the pandemic is not hitting us hard as predicted, so I think the government need to properly assess the situation on ground and at least ease the interstate lock down so football and other activities can resume.
“I wish to appeal to the sports ministry, the league organisers and other stakeholders to put adequate measures in place and continue to engage in more meaningful deliberations on how to get the league back on track for the thousands of her teeming fans including myself”.
On his part, the coach of Jubilee Bombers FC – a local football club in Akwa Ibom State- Mr. Victor Raymond emphasized on the need for the sports ministry and the league organisers to present a workable approach tailored after what is obtainable in other developed leagues to the Federal government for consideration on how to successfully conclude the 2019/2020 football League season
“There is no doubt that I’m one of many Nigerians who is really missing the NPFL. As a coach, I know that the health and safety of players and officials is paramount. COVID -19 has dealt a serious blow to all human activities around the world and it was even worse in Europe but they are gradually getting back to normal life. Some major leagues in Europe have resumed albeit behind closed doors. I think we can equally work something out to get our league back because we are really missing the fun of it.
On how he is coping without watching the NPFL, another Akwa United fan Mr. Etorobong Mbang explained that he doesn’t miss street football played by youths in his locality every Sunday.
“Our NPFL may not have been on television for people to watch like other major leagues around the world but I have not missed any of Akwa United home match since 2015. My passion for NPFL is immeasurable. Since the suspension of the league due to coronavirus pandemic, the hunger to see live football action has pushed me into watching street football in my community, but street football is nothing compared to NPFL”
The League Management Company suspended the 2019/2020 NPFL matches after Matchday 25 following the out break of the dreaded coronavirus. Akwa United are 6th on the log with 35 points from 25 games.