How to join a football club in NigeriaMarch 14, 2021
Nigeria is a country with an abundance of raw talents scattered across the Federation. However, there’s always the problem of getting a club to play for.
A problem which these raw talents have been facing for ages.
This could be as a result of the poor state of our national league which is still far below some of the best Leagues in the world.
If you want to join a football club while you are in Nigeria, then be rest assured that you will surely find a way.
Some players often overlook the importance of playing for a football club within their locality, whilst it is one of the best ways that could propel their careers to the next level.
Take a closer look at Victor Osimhen, even though he did not play for a local club, he was in Nigeria before he joined the train that departed Nigeria for the u-17 World.
Right now, he makes cool cash in Italy with Napoli after making that surprise megger move to the club.
My friend who has that desire to play Professionally was also in the same camp as Victor Osimhen before he left for the World Cup.
Today, if you’re successful join a club, a career takes a big step.
This article outlines the various steps to take towards achieving your plans to join a football club in Nigeria
1. Go for trials
Because every scout is aware that Nigeria has a pool of talented players, there’s always scouts visiting the country in search of players.
What you have to do for yourself is to attend competitions that scouts do visit.
If your current city has no room for constant competition that attracts scouts, I will advise you to consider moving out.
Here in Nigeria, some of the best places scouts normally visit in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Calabar, Abuja, Portharcourt, Owerri, Enugu.
If you are lucky, you could get a club if the scout is interested in what he sees in you, which calls for consistency in you.
2. Join an Academy
Several players have left Nigeria with the help of Academies. So I will advise you not to undermine the importance of an Academy.
There are lots of Football Academies in Nigeria, most notably includes the Pepsi Football Academy.
Your next bet is to sign up with a football Academy which could also help you get in touch with a club within a short.
This is because scouts normally visit Academies to scout for players.
2. Ensure you good
No club is willing to work with half-backed players. Before making the move towards joining a club, ensure you are good and that you have basic football skills.
You should have a particular role you specialize in. If you are an attacker, always stick to.
The best thing you can do for yourself at this point is to choose a particular role you can easily adapt to or you can play without having troubles.
If you know you lack some of these skills, I’ll advise you to go back to the drawing board.
Go back to your training to avoid a situation whereby you are dropped as a result of errors.
Coaches are expecting to see what you can offer.
Believe me, what they expect from you is not how good you are with the ball, but your final decision making which is what makes you a complete footballer in our modern times.
There’s no other way to convince people than to appear perfect. You have to be good else there’s no way you can sign for a club.
Remember, football is business, and no one wants to invest their money wrongly.
Ever wondered why the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Ramos, Wilfred Ndidi shines on the field of play? It simply their ability to make decisions in the final third, which makes a standout amongst the rest.
There are several ways you can improve on yourself. If you want to grow, always consider the grassroots i.e the street game.
This is a place that will allow you to do anything without an obligation.
Play street football regular and learn new skills every day. Train regularly and be consistent with it.
3. Eye training camps outside Nigeria
There are training camps outside the country you can join if you have the capacity. Most notably in Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Cameroon and Algeria as well as Morocco.
One major problem we face here in our country is the lack of sponsorship from cooperating organization.
Over there in the United States, the NCCA or the ODP creates scholarship for young athletes within and outside the country to help them learn more skills.
If there are scholarship programs for sports, I will advise you to take it seriously because it could take afar.
4. Have a passport
As a Nigerian, moving outside the country, you must have a valid international passport in your custody.
If you do not have one, you simply work into any Nigerian embassy to obtain a passport from them, although it may cost you a few thousands in the process of getting it.
5. Have a particular position you can play
Specialize in a particular role. Do not turn yourself into a utility player as it could cause your downfall.
You have to know yourself, what you want and what you are doing. Specialized in a particular role as a player and consistently work on it to perfect that role.
Create a training schedule and constantly work on yourself to perfect your preferred role.
6. Look for an agent
Agents are so important to any Footballer. Even the biggest soccer stars in the world do have agents negotiating on their behalf.
You’ll have to find a good agent out there, who will search for clubs both home and abroad that are looking for players.
While you are out there trying to improve on yourself, your agent is busy looking for deals on your behalf, which would help you concentrate on your development.
There are also organizations out there that can manage your affairs as a player. Look for these organizations and register with them.
7. Be on the lookout for clubs looking for players
Although this is not as easy as it sounds. But there are always clubs looking for players within and outside Nigeria.
This the point where your agent comes into play.
8. Start local
Do you still recall how Emem Eduok, Stephen Odey, Odion Ighako and Ahmed Musa left the shores of Nigeria?
They all played for Nigeria Premier League clubs before they were scouted by international clubs at that time.
Musa was very outstanding with Kano Pillars. Stephen Odey was spectacular with MFM FC.
These and many more are perfect examples of players who left Nigeria as a result of involvement with clubs within the country.
9. Establish Contacts with people outside the country
Try to establish contacts with your friends that are already outside the country so that when there’s an opportunity over there, you could be notified.
He/She could have an opportunity over there, so long as you have proper contact with them, you could be invited over.
10. Train regularly
One major aspect of your career you should not play with is constant training. This needs no compromise, just train consistently to keep your body and mind fit.
Training helps you keep your body healthy and strong for the challenge ahead.
It is your busy schedule preventing you from getting regular training, then you have to find a way because every footballer cannot do without regular training exercise.
Some other important aspect to look out for
There are no external requirements as long as you are a Nigerian. The only requirements you could be asked to present are your medical reports.
These requirements in some cases could be overwritten since clubs already have medical facilities to conduct it’d own medical trials before the official contract papers will be handed to you.
However, have it in mind you should understand basic communications skills like the ability to speak English frequently.
For foreigners who desire to join a football club in Nigeria, they’ll have to present a valid passport which can be obtained at the embassy in their respective countries.
They may be required to present the transfer certificate from the country Football Association.
What these clubs want to see in you
Clubs are always on the lookout for unique abilities you possess. Like in Nigeria, the style of football played across the country involves a high level of physical strength and speed.
You should be able to withstand the physical strength of the league if you want to succeed.
Another thing is your creativeness and your ability to work with others as a team.
Majority of clubs in the country play like a team with no individual talent attached to them.
Thirdly, consistency is another factor Nigerian coaches always look out for. If you are a one-season wonder, some coaches may not be willing to be patient with you.
Coaches always encourage you to be consistent with your game and this is because of the target and Competitiveness of the NPFL.
Requirements on your part as a footballer
You should take your training more serious than any other engagement at this point.
Do the basic training exercises including running, stretching, jumping and sit-ups.
These types of fitness exercise keep you stronger and Sharp.
Good moral behaviour
Some players have failed dreams or careers because of bad behaviour on and off the pitch.
Basic football skill
You should possess basic football skills such as making good passes, crosses and the ability to make important decisions when it matters.
Stamina is also an important aspect of your career. You should increase your work rate as a footballer.
To join a football club is not that easy, but you can make it even easier for yourself by doing the right thing the right way.
You should prepare yourself so that when the opportunity presents itself, you can take advantage of it.
I believe, this article will help you as you continue your journey towards achieving the status of a professional footballer as a Nigerian.