National League

THE LEAGUES

The National League was established in 1972 with eight teams. The League since then had become the pivot of the growth of the game within the country.Winners of the National League after its inception are:

1972 – Mighty Jets
1973 – Bendel Insurance
1974 – Enugu Rangers
1975 – Enugu Rangers
1976 – IICC Shooting Stars
1977 – Enugu Rangers
1978 – Raccah Rovers
1979 – Bendel Insurance
1980 – IICC Shooting Stars
1981 – Enugu Rangers
1982 – Enugu Rangers
1983 – Enugu Rangers
1984 – IICC Shooting Stars
1985 – New Nigerian Bank
1986 – Leventis United
1987 – Leventis United
1988 – Iwuanyanwu Nationale
1989 – Iwuanyanwu Nationale

On Saturday, 12th May, 1990, at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos, the Professional League was launched in the country with 16 clubs.

Notable among the clubs were Stationery Stores, Bendel Insurance, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Shooting Stars, Enugu Rangers, Kano Pillars, Julius Berger, Jos Highlanders, Bendel United, Enyimba, ACB, Calabar Rovers and BCC Lions.
Iwuanyanwu Nationale  FC won the first professional League title in 1990. In 1991, the second division was established, and since then, the top division has undergone various transformations, and is now known as the Globacom Premier League.
Presently, there are four  different version of  Leagues being run by the Nigeria Football Federation. These are: Globacom Premier League, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women’s League and Nigeria Amateur League.

Globacom Premier League
The premier League is managed by the Nigeria Professional League Board and sponsored by the Nigeria telecommunication giant, Globacom. Today, it is a 20 –team League that has earned some respect on the continent and the world as a whole, under the supervision of Chief Oyuki Jackson Obaseki,  who is also the second Vice –President of the Nigeria Football Federation.

Membership of NPL Board is as follows:

Chief Oyuki Jackson Obaseki – Chairman
Alh. Shehu Garba Gusau – Vice Chairman
Comrade Anthony Yamusa – Member
Dr. Felix Owolabi (MON) – Member
Mr. Mike Idoko – Member
Alh. Abdullahi Danbaba – Member
Alh. Gambo Mamman – Member
Mr. Oswald Atuake – Member
Mr. Suleiman Kwande – Member
Mr. Joe Amene – Member
Barr. Ray Nnaji – Member
Hon. Sabo Babayaro – Member
Mr. Alhassan Yakmut – Executive Secretary

The two top-placed teams in the Premier League at the end of every season qualify to represent Nigeria in the prestigious CAF Champions League, while the third-placed team alongside the winner of the FA Cup (now Federation Cup) fly Nigeria’s flag in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Nigeria National League is the new name for the professional league, which is the second cadre after the top division became known as the Premier League. The professional league was run for some years by the Nigeria Football League. But at its Annual General Assembly in Makurdi on 24th July, 2008, the Congress of Nigeria football approved the change of name to Nigeria National League, to be run by the Nigeria Football Federation. The creation was aimed at making the lower division more attractive for prospective sponsors. Also, at the Annual General Assembly in Makurdi, the Nigeria Football League was re-named Nigeria Premier League. The Nigeria Women’s League and Nigeria Amateur League were also created.

The interim Management Committee of the Nigeria National League was inaugurated by NFF President, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi on 14th August, 2008.

Nigeria National League

The Nigeria National League is the new name for the professional league, which is the second cadre after the top division became known as the Premier League. The professional league was run for some years by the Nigeria Football League. But at its Annual General Assembly in Makurdi on 24th July, 2008, the Congress of Nigeria football approved the change of name to Nigeria National League, to be run by the Nigeria Football Federation. The creation was aimed at making the lower division more attractive for prospective sponsors. Also, at the Annual General Assembly in Makurdi, the Nigeria Football League was re-named Nigeria Premier League. The Nigeria Women’s League and Nigeria Amateur League were also created.

The interim Management Committee of the Nigeria National League was inaugurated by NFF President, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi on 14th August, 2008.

Membership of National League Interim Management Committee:

Dr. Shehu Adamu – Chairman
Mr. Amaju Pinnick – Vice Chairman
Mr. Tanko Nuhu – Member
Sir E. C. Chukwuemeka – Member
Alh. Ganiyu Majekodunmi – Member
Mr. Richard Jideaka – Member
Mr. Audu Attah – Member
Mr. Ayo Rahaman – Secretary

The Committee was given the following scope as operational guidelines:

  • To oversee, supervise and organize the National League competition in accordance with NFF Statutes
  • To coordinate all activities of the National League, including finance
  • To be independent in the running of the National League and align its programmes with the NFF
  • To report all its programmes of activities and make available comprehensive report quarterly to the NFF
  • To meet at least every two (2) months to review progress in the National League
  • To initiate the rules and regulations proposals for the National League
  • To embark on aggressive marketing towards securing sponsors for the National League

The National League is directly coordinated by the Leagues’ Management Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, headed by the first Vice President, Mr. Amanze Uchegbulam.

Prior to the commencement of its first season, the interim management committee held a meeting with all Nigeria National League Clubs, conducted players’ registration, inspected all proposed stadia, organized a seminar for the clubs, staged a draws ceremony and eventually launched the season with the opening match between BCC Lions of Gboko and Kwara United FC of Ilorin at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, on 25th October, 2008.

The National League also staged an All-Star Match as a mid-season tantalizer, between the League’s leading teams FC Taraba and Dolphin FC, at the Jalingo Stadium on 21st February, 2009. The match was beamed live by NFF’s Broadcast partner, Africa Independent Television (AIT), and this marked the beginning of the broadcast of National League matches by AIT.

Women League
Women’s football started in Nigeria in the late 1970s, but it was in the 1980s that it really came alive. The pioneers included Simbiat Babes and Jegede Babes. And it was from these top teams that players were picked for the first national women’s team in 1990.

Amateur League
Although the National Amateur League had long been existence it was however at the Annual General Assembly of the NFF in July 2008 that an Interim Management Committee was formally inaugurated to administer League.
The Amateur League is structured into three divisions. Eight teams are promoted from the National Amateur League to the Nigeria National League each year, while eight are relegated from the National League to the Amateur League.
Equally, eight teams are promoted from Division Two to Division One, while eight teams are relegated from Division One to Two.
At the same time, Division Three teams played at eight different centres with the top team in each centre promoted to Division Two, while the teams at the bottom are relegated out of the Amateur League outright.

 NFF at a glance
Founded 1945
FIFA Affiliation Since 1960
President Sani Lulu Abdullahi
1st Vice President Amanze Uchegbulam
2nd Vice President Oyuki Obaseki
General Secretary Bolaji Ojo-Oba
National
Jerseys
Green/white

FIFA World Cup appearances
3 (1994, 1998, 2002)

Continental titles
Winner
CAN (1980, 1994)
Runners-Up
CAN (1984, 1988, 1990, 2000)

Best Results
Winner
FIFA U-17 World Cup Final (1985, 1993, 2007), Olympic Football Tournament Final (1996)

Runners-Up
FIFA U-17 World Cup Final (1987, 2001, 2009), FIFA U-20 World Cup Final (1989, 2005), Olympic Football Tournament Final (2008)