MTN Nigeria, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and La Liga, the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system, have announced a partnership to support the development of grassroots football in Nigeria, through the establishment of the NPFL/La Liga U-15 Youth League.
The announcement was made at a press conference on April 21, 2022, at Ikenne, Ogun State, with representatives of MTN, NPFL, LaLiga and ValueJet in attendance.
The partnership will ensure the continuous local and international exposure for Nigerian youth football, capacity building for players and coaching talents, which ultimately contribute to the advancement of developmental football in the country.
In addition to making the youth league more attractive, there will be a one-week coaching seminar which will see seasoned La Liga coaches interact with their local coounterparts on modern youth coaching techniques ahead of the tournament. Forty NPFL coaches, national team coaches as well as other youth coaches across the country will benefit from the seminar.
According to Shehu Dikko, Chairman of the League Management Company responsible for the management of the NPFL, the tournament creates an opportunity to grow grassroots football in Nigeria.
“We are extremely delighted to have MTN as the Elite Partner and supporter of the NPFL/La Liga U-15 youth league which has been going on since 2017. It is worthy to note that this year’s (2022) edition is the fourth. Some of the players who participated in the first and second editions have been called to play and captained the U17-national team and the U-20 national team, whilst others ply their trades abroad, which has been a great source of revenue for our participating clubs.”
“We are excited to see a player like Akin Amoo who is a part of the class of 2017 making the Super Eagles squad for the just-concluded World Cup play-off matches.
This clearly depicts the enormous potential of what we are doing and now with the finest touch of MTN and the continuous exceptional support of La liga, the sky is the limit for this project,” Dikko stated.
“At MTN, our love for the beautiful game is palpable in our investments in Nigerian football. Our commitment to developmental football is expressed in this partnership with the NPFL. We aim to provide and support avenues to identify and coach the best young footballing talent in Nigeria, ultimately promoting grassroots football in Nigeria.”
Desmond Chiji, La Liga Global Network Delegate for Nigeria, adds that the tournament will aid the development of football in Nigeria.
“It has been an interesting project right from when we started this in 2017. A journey that has seen us grow the relationship with the NPFL, and together we have made this youth tournament a masterpiece. We will continue to work closely together in building the future stars, and we are proud to be part of the driving force in the growth of grassroots football here in Nigeria.”
“We are excited with the partnership between La Liga, NPFL and MTN because we believe it will aid our quest to develop Nigerian football and change the face of the game in the country. The relationship between Nigeria and La Liga has been very beneficial, we have had several Nigerian players play professionally in Spain, we are pleased with this and we want the trend to continue.”
In 2021, MTN Nigeria signed a partnership agreement with the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, making the company the Official Communications Partner of the Super Eagles and other national teams. This partnership sees MTN execute several exciting activities around Nigerian football, allowing football lovers to enjoy the sport uniquely.