By James Agberebi:
Former Super Eagles midfielder, Friday Ekpo has called on the League Management Company and the Nigeria Football Federation to look into the issues of referees and players' wages ahead of the new NPFL season.
At the third LMC Annual General Meeting, the league body confirmed Sunday, 15 January, 2017 as the kick-off date for the new football season.
Looking forward to the new season, Ekpo told Completesportsnigeria.com that it is imperative that the LMC and NFF look into the welfare of the referees and players in order to have a smooth campaign.
"Firstly, I will like to thank God that a date has finally been agreed," Ekpo stated..
"And I wish and pray the date is not changed for any other date or month. So I'm happy about that.
"The areas I want the LMC and the NFF to look into before the kick-off of the new season are the referees and players' welfare issues.
"Our referees have been doing great and what I expect the league body to make the environment conducive for them to do their work.
"Referees make mistakes sometimes, but the LMC and the NFF have a role to play to make them perform their duties.
"It is surprising to me too that the LMC has not really clamped down on teams that owe their players.
"Salaries, bonuses, allowances – all these are what brings out the best in players and make them live up to expectation.
"If Cristiano Ronaldo is always owed by Real Madrid, he will not work as hard as he is working today. He is playing his own part and Real Madrid also are playing their own part, it's a two-way thing."
Ekpo added: "So I want the LMC to make it mandatory to every club to ensure they don't owe their players going into the new season so that we can make the league attractive for foreigners who might want to come and play."