CLUB NEWS

Dikko charges NPFL players to surpass Ezeji

•Ezeji now Player Relationship Advisor

By Fisayo Dairo

Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC) Shehu Dikko has challenged league players to "do the right things" in their respective clubs ahead of the new football league season in Nigeria which gets underway this weekend.

Dikko spoke at the weekend in Port Harcourt after a Testimonial game organized in honour of Nigeria Professional Football League legend Victor Ezeji who bowed out of the game in grand style after playing in 20 consecutive first division league seasons in Nigeria.

The LMC Chairman captained Team NPFL in the testimonial game and scored the game's opening goal at the start of the second half as his team defeated Team EZEJI 2-1 with Ezeji who featured for both teams in each half scoring what turned out to be the winner for Team NPFL. Speaking after the testimonial game, Dikko tasked current league players to emulate Ezeji in doing what is acceptable globally in their careers.

"As a real star of the league, it (the testimonial) was a befitting event for Victor. The crowd turnout was good, the players were good and everybody is happy," begun Dikko.

"The reason we have legends is for them to be a benchmark and motivation for other people to aspire to and to do better.

"We heard Victor say today (Saturday) that he was not owed by anybody throughout his twenty years because he followed the right way. He Had lawyers representing him and not going alone to sign the contracts. These are what current players have to emulate and must do the right things at all time." said Dikko

Dikko also announced on Saturday that upon retirement, Ezeji will now take up a Players' Relationship Advisor (PRA) role with the League Management Company, an endeavour that would enable him use his wealth of experience as a professional player to interface between current players and the league organizers.

"Victor is someone we want to use because the players can trust him because he has been there so he knows their problems and all the issues concerning them.

"The players can approach him for dispute resolutions between them and their clubs, he can advise the clubs on how to deal with erring players and he can also advise the players on the importance of combining education with football among other things." added Dikko.

Ezeji started his playing career with defunct Sharks FC of Port Harcourt in 1996 and went on to also represent Sharks' local rivals, Dolphins and other NPFL clubs during a glittering 20 seasons of league football in Nigeria.

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