With the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League set to kick off on Saturday, Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU gives tips that can make the League Management Company organise an even better competition than last season's excellent campaign…
TOUGHER SANCTIONS ON ERRING CLUBS
Although there has been a remarkable reduction in the area of crowd trouble in the Nigeria Professional Football League, there still were some incidents in some centres last season.
The Akure Township Stadium home of Sunshine Stars, for example, has been a troubled spot in recent seasons.
The Owena Waves were banished to Lagos towards the end of the 2014/2015 season over crowd trouble. Their fans were involved in the same act against Heartland last season and were fined by the LMC.
Lagos- based club MFM FC also had their fans banished from the stadium for three games after their supporters invaded the pitch threatening to assault the centre referee during their clash against Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan last season.
That didn't deter the fans from engaging in similar act few weeks later against Abia Warriors at the same venue.
MFM's local rivals Ikorodu United were also banished to Abeokuta for similar offence.
To forestall similar occurrences in the new season, the LMC need to impose stiffer sanctions on erring clubs.
MORE NIGHT FOOTBALL WILL ADD BEAUTY TO THE LEAGUE
The introduction of night football in some centres added glamour and razzmatazz to league last season. Though the league body had the intention of adding more in the new season, they can do more by making sure all the centres have flood lights which will allow for games to be played at night at every league venue.
SECURITY STILL A CHALLENGE AT MATCH CENTRES
The issue of security is still a challenge in most of the stadia across the country. The number of security personnel on ground on match days is rarely enough to forestall security challenges posed by fans and supporters.
In most cases, the security personnel on ground are mostly not trained specifically to deal with crowd violence during sporting events.
In other climes, fans go to the stadium with their families with the knowledge that their safety is guaranteed.
To have the same here, security at match venue must be thoroughly worked on, with the use of properly trained policemen or stewards.
WEED OUT BAD REFEREES
No league in the world can improve when there is poor officiating. Just like in the case of dealing with violence at match centres, there has been some improvement in the area of officiating but the LMC can still do more.
Quite a number of referees were sanctioned last season for poor performance and the league body must further scrutinize them this season and impose stiffer punishment on erring ones.
AVOID FIXTURE CONGESTION
Fixture congestion has been one major hinderance to the smooth running of the Nigeria Professional Football League. The situation has not been helped by participation of some teams in continental competitions.
The LMC can still find a way of fine tuning the fixtures to allow for more competitiveness.