BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) has ranked the Nigeria Premier Football League the ninth in Africa, even behind those of Angola, Tanzania and Sudan. Worldwide, the lead Nigerian league is ranked 77th among the top 80 national leagues of the world.
However, the ranking is before the current season which is being packaged by the Interim Management Committee.
The ranking is for the period 1 January 2022 to 31st December 2022. The statistics made available indicates a sharp drop in the Nigerian league which as at 31 December 2021 was ranked 44 in world.
It shows that the league dropped 33 steps down the ladder in the season that was concluded. In July last year.
In contrast, Egypt, which league is highest rated in Africa ranked 14th in 2021 and improved to 13th globally in 2022.
Algeria had even a more significant improvement from 29th in 2021 to 20th in 2022. The same applies to Africa’s third best football league, the Moroccan Botola Pro.
In 2021, the Moroccan league was ranked 30th and moved significantly up the ladder to 24th as at December 2022. The Sudanese league that is fourth ranked in Africa rose from 74th in 2021 to 33rd in 2022.
There are others in Africa rated above Nigeria. They include Africa’s fifth ranked league, Tanzania which globally moved from 62nd in 2021 to 39th in the world in the latest ranking.
The next African league, that of South Africa dropped from 31st in 2021 to 52nd in 2022.Though seventh placed in the continent, Angola dropped from 37th in 2021 to 60th in 2022 global ranking.
Tunisia’s league placed eighth in Africa and 68th in the world dropping from their 38th position in 2021. The Zambian league is the 1oth in Africa and 79th in the world dropping from their earlier 52nd position.
The poor ranking of the Nigerian league could also be gleaned from the poor runs the country’s clubs have been having in the elite club league championship of CAF.
Since 2013, a space of 10 years, only Enyimba in 2016 and Lobi Stars in 2018/19 managed to get to the group stage of the CAF Champions League, even when the groups were increased from two to four since 2017.
The relative strength of a nation’s league, especially in Africa can also be measured by the performances in the African Nations Championship.
In nine editions, Nigeria qualified just thrice and have won no title thus calling for the need to strengthen the domestic league.