Should We Emulate Niger in Football?
By SWAL Rep Leroy M. Sonpon, III in Niger
Niger's climate is mainly hot and dry, with much desert
area. In the extreme south there is a tropical climate on
the edges of the Niger River Basin. The terrain is
predominantly desert plains and sand dunes, with flat to
rolling plains in the south and hills in the north. Lake
Chad is at the south-east corner of the country and is
shared between Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.
In spite of the recurring droughts, which is a hazard in
Niger, the country has formulated a 'Football Program' which
is relatively better than Liberia.
Currently, the Niger Football Federation in collaboration
with the government, with minute support from FIFA, is
constructing a Niamey Technical Center. Out of the seven
football pitches, two are done: one has artificial carpet,
while the other has natural green grass. The field with the
natural grass contains four giant-size lights for practices
at night. The dormitory (housing) for the players are
completed, while a five-star hotel is under construction, as
well as the swimming pools and washing (bathing) house.
The Mosque, administrative and technical offices are also
"Hopefully by December, we will complete the remaining
pitches, and by June-2013, the entire Technical Center is
expected to be over," Mustapha, an official of NTC said.
Owing to the available of the Technical Center, it has been
discovered that the national football teams begin practice a
year to an international competition, evidently, the U-17
Niger was seen practicing for her pending match against
Senegal in September.
"We need this kind of infrastructure in Liberia to enable us
to be fully prepared in any competition. The ATS is not
enough to be used for all the national teams," Technical
Director Henry Browne stressed.
"Apart from the technical center, we have additional two
field around the General Seyni Kountche Stadium, which can
be used for national teams practices," Mustapha opined. We
also have a martial arts center which is housing wrestling,
karate, Wushu, taekwondo and boxing. We love football and
"Additionally, we have mini stadiums in the various regions
of Niger and all the players of our national teams are
selected from regional tournaments by panel of technical
expected appointed by the federation," Mustapha added.
As for the Niger's national league, there are only two
divisions: 1st and 2nd. The 1st division is comprise of the
14 teams, while the 2nd division is more than 20.
"We decided to have these two divisions to show that only
the determined and strong teams can play in the leagues.
Once you constraint entry into the league and make the
package attractive, teams will be serious to play good
football," Mustapha said.
With these scenarios in Niger, where the national leagues
are restricted to two divisions to fetch the determined and
strong teams followed by good packages to maintain the teams
good for Liberia? The erection of infrastructure, such as
the NTC also good for Liberia?
This mean that the Musa Bility's leadership need to redirect
their plan by investing in infrastructure for the good of
the game. Granted, the LFA is about to launch the
construction of a Technical Center in Careysburg and
Representative Ballah Zayzay has proposed a billed for the
establishment of three Sports Academy Centers in the
country, but how soon will this dream come to reality?