Premium Hero lager beer, a product of International Breweries PLC has signed a partnership deal with the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), while also becoming the official sponsor of Enyimba, Rangers, and three other clubs.
As part of efforts to grow the local league and boost the country’s clubs, premium lager, Hero, has entered a partnership agreement with the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) and some South East-based football clubs. The clubs are Enyimba, Rangers, Abia Warriors, Heartland, and relegated Ifeanyi Ubah.
In a deal that was signed on Tuesday, 14th December, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, the amount involved in the deal, which will run only for incoming NPFL next season, was not disclosed, a host of dignitaries were present.
Among top dignitaries who were present include Marketing Director International Breweries PLC Tolulope Adedeji, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Melvin Pinnick, First Vice president, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, League Management Company (LMC) chairman, Shehu Dikko, representatives of the five clubs and president of the Referee Association of Nigeria.
Speaking to the media at a press conference to announce the partnership, Tolulope Adedeji explained that as a culturally-inclined brand that always has the welfare of the people at the heart of its campaigns and initiatives, Hero seeks to elevate the status of the round leather game in Nigeria.
She said: “Football is a game that brings people together no matter who they are or where they are located. In a football game, people celebrate as one and they share the win or loss of their team as one, and in this sense Hero Lager is much like the game of football because it unites people.”
She continued: “Now that Hero lager is stepping up to promote domestic football, we should expect a lot more development in this area. Our ambition is to see our domestic players get more visibility, career development, and love of our people”
Marketing Manager, Hero, Margaret Igabali added that the “These clubs bring joy to many Nigerians across the country and should be supported just the way foreign brands support foreign clubs. Football teams go beyond the game, they are traditions, and we are happy to be the official sponsors of these great football traditions”
NFF president Pinnick says the new partnership will go a long way in tackling the welfare of players. Saying: “The reason why I came on board is because we are here for the welfare of the players which is very important.”
Pinnick added: “When we are playing we always have the support of the clubs’ owners and we say let’s tackle the welfare of the players which will make the young ones see that there is something in for them if they put their best.”
In his remark, Dikko said: “I thank everybody for being present here today, it’s a special occasion. This is the way to do it, thankfully our president is here member of FIFA Council Amaju Pinnick, Vice President is here and what I know is that history will always remember us for the effort we have been putting to move our football forward.
“What me and Seyi (Akinwunmi) always tell who cares to listen is how to make our football the fundamental of our economy. Once you are able to achieve that and when the government is giving the statistics concerning the contribution, football needs to be among the top three, because this country has all the ingredients and capacity and we only need to come together and move forward.”
Former Super Eagles forward, Aghahowa, who played for Bendel Insurance in the Nigerian league during his professional career, said: “As a product of the league I have contributed my own part to the development of football in this country and we also want the younger ones coming to follow that line.”
He continued: “We’ve seen the efforts the NFF has put to the development of the game and for that to happen we need to have more sponsors, we need to have more people like Heroes.”
The height of the event was the panel session, when legendary broadcaster and president of International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Africa, Mitchell Obi, Godwin Enakhena, Seyi Akinwunmi, Julius Aghahowa, and Shehu Dikko, spoke on how to make the league and Nigeria football better. Different suggestions were made with the hope of having a better footballing nation.