The Nigeria Football Federation and MTN Communications on Thursday signed a partnership agreement that made the telecommunications firm the “Official Communications Partner of the Super Eagles and other National Teams.”
At an event attended by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, in Lagos, both parties signed an agreement worth N500m-a-year with several other opportunities and possibilities in the mix as the contract runs.
It is the second mega deal the NFF will sign in just two days, having signed a four-year partnership deal with the country’s biggest airline, Air Peace, to become the exclusive airline sponsor of the country’s national teams in a deal worth N300m on Wednesday.
“This is something I will call a marriage of the king of telecoms and the king of sports. MTN is the king of telecoms and football is the king of sports. This event today is in sync with the thinking and desire of the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for our sports federations – which is for them to be self-funding. I appreciate MTN for taking this step and I encourage other corporate bodies to partner with our sports federations. Government alone cannot do it all,” sports minister Dare said during the signing of the deal.
NFF president and FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick, lauded MTN for its patience, doggedness and forthrightness while the partnership deal was being processed.
“MTN is a really big and capable partner to have on your side. I thank them for their forbearance while the process was on and so many crooked sticks were turning up. My joy is that today has come. We have this vision as a Board of the NFF to achieve absolute self-funding for the federation before we leave office, and I believe that with this, we are walking close towards realising our vision,” Pinnick stated.
“It was very difficult for them to get into Nigerian football but the next step now is for them to extend their tentacles to other areas. We are also looking at the league; whatever comes to the NFF trickles to the league,” Pinnick added, while answering questions on whether the domestic league would also benefit from the partnership.
Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said the company was excited to partner with Nigerian football.
“Football is a unifying national obsession. It brings people together, breaks down boundaries, creates conversations and inspires. We are privileged to have this opportunity to partner with the NFF and to be able to support all Nigeria’s national football teams over the next three years. This is the start of what we hope will be an inspiring, productive and value adding partnership that can combine the role that technology plays, with the incredible experiences that football provides for the millions of Nigerians who follow the national teams,” he said.
Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, Chairman MTN Nigeria, described the new deal as “a significant partnership.”
He said, “Our new role as exclusive official communications partner to the NFF represents a higher rung in the ladder of our long-standing relationship with football, one that like us is 20 years old.
“From our earliest football sponsorships to our big-ticket sponsorship of the 2010 World Cup, the first and only time till date that the Mundial has taken place on African soil and was wholly sponsored by an African brand; to our vision for growing football at the grassroots through our Street Soccer initiative; to our focus on developmental football by combining it with education through the Football Scholar programme. It is clear that we value the beautiful game.”
Also at the event were Shehu Dikko, NFF vice president; Senator Obinna Ogba, Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports; Aisha Falode, NFF board member; Dr Omobola Johnson, Mohammed Ahmad and Andrew Ali (Directors of MTN); Mr Tobe Okigbo (MTN Corporate Services Officer) and Daniel Amokachi, Special Assistant to the President on Sports.
Super Eagles’ captain Ahmed Musa led teammates William Troost-Ekong, Wilfred Ndidi and Victor Osimhen to the epoch-making event.