…NPFL followership increase to 47 percent.
… Chelsea Football Club top EPL fans in Nigeria.
The excitements, intrigues and upsets the English Premier League (EPL) has brought to TV screens across the world, particularly Nigeria has made the league the most exciting and competitive competition in the world.
The crowd at various viewing centers during match day is an evident of how football-loving Nigerians follow the Premier League.
Fans, especially the young at heart, who are supporters of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Manchester City among other EPL clubs, throng to viewing centres to catch a glimpse of their favourite players and teams in the EPL football matches every weekend.
Latest poll released by NOIPolls revealed that 41 percent of Nigerian fans following the prestigious Premier League have tipped Jose Mourinho’s tutored Manchester United side to win the 2017/2018 EPL title.
Mourinho, know for his winning mentality, joined the Old Trafford outfit last season and has a pedigree for winning the League title in his second season of every one of his managerial stints. Although the Portuguese tactician has won title in the first time on few occasions, but his second bite at it has worked every single time. Therefore, given his history of second-season wins, there is a very high likelihood that he will do it again this season.
Since the appointment of Mourinho in May 2016 as coach of Man United, the club gained a 2-point increase in their Nigerian fan base from the preceding year and also clinching the Europa Cup in May, 2017.
The increase in the club’s fan base clearly shows that there is a renewed optimism among fans of the club as the club currently stands at the top of the EPL Table.
Also, Chelsea FC recorded its highest support (42 percent) from the Nigerian fan base in 2014 when Jose Mourinho returned to the club as head coach and their current fan base stands at 34 percent representing a 1-point decline in their fan base from the previous year.
United were very active in the summer transfer market, adding new players to boost the strength of the squad. The signing of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic,V ictor Lindelof etc.), further increased the confidence level of football enthusiasts that The Red Devils will definitely make great wins this season
The competition becoming more endearing, this is evident in the country as 78 percent of Nigerian football fans follow the EPL. The poll also revealed that the EPL clubs with the highest number of fans in Nigeria are Chelsea Football Club (34 percent), Manchester United (33 percent) and Arsenal FC (23 percent) and this is mainly because Nigerians believe that they play good football and that they have good players in their respective clubs as stated by respondents.
The low followership of the Nigerian Premier League witnessed over the years has improved slightly less than half (47 percent) Nigerian fans follow the domestic league games. This indicates a significant 14-point increase in the proportion of Nigerians who currently follow the NPL compared to 2016 findings. On the other hand, Nigerians (53 percent) who do not follow the NPL claimed that it is not interesting and (18%) suggested that ideas should be adopted from foreign leagues to make domestic games more attractive to Nigerians.
A larger proportion of football enthusiasts (35 percent) picked Plateau United FC as the favourite to win the Nigerian Premier Leagues this season, Enyimba FC accounted for the club with the highest fan base in Nigeria as indicated by 18 percent (which formed the majority) of the respondents. This could be attributed to their fantastic performance at the African Champions competition in 2003 and 2004 when they successfully defended the title. In addition, the club also won the trophy in the 2016 NPL games hence, the fan base the club has around the country.