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Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) living legend, Victor Ezeji who played over 20 seasons in the league with clubs like Enyimba, Dolphins and Sharks during his career, is arguably the most decorated NPFL player. He has lifted the lid on why Nigerian teams have failed to do well in CAF competitions and why the players need lawyers. He spoke with AOIfootball.com’s Abiola Shodiya.

 

What do you think is responsible for the poor performance of Nigerian clubs in Africa?

First, it has to do with club administrators. Most times when teams qualify for continental assignments, they tend to recruit people that don’t care about their clubs getting to the next stage. All they care about is how they can make gains for themselves. And that’s what we’re suffering from today. If you see the North Africans they’re always there, year in year out and it is not like they’re very fantastic. Our league is stronger than what they have but they know the antics and at this stage of the competition, nobody cares what you do to get to the group stage but we’re not doing it. When you don’t do what you need to do and they do it, nobody cares. We’re not doing that because we don’t even know what to do.

 

Ezeji's remarkable career saw him play for 20 solid seasons in the NPFL
Ezeji’s remarkable career saw him play for 20 solid seasons in the NPFL

As a Players Relation Officer of the League Management Company, how would you rate the state of Nigerian players?

Well, everything is a work in progress. The LMC is trying to change everything about Nigerian players’ mentality. If you can see, gradually we’re getting there. So let’s just keep taking it one after the other, I’m very sure we’ll get there.

What can you say about players in the NPFL who complain about being owed backlog of salaries?

I have always said it that when there’s nothing like documentation, these things we’ll happen. Players always think they’re are smarter instead of getting a lawyer to help tidy the deals and pay maybe 5% or 10%. Engaging a lawyer is better than losing your money. I know players are difficult to deal with but I’m sure with the push by the LMC, we’ll get there.

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