Nigeria became the second African country to be home to a LaLiga office, after South Africa. LaLiga president Javier Tebas was in the city of Abuja for the for the opening of the latest international base as part of the ongoing campaign to expand Spanish football’s frontiers. LaLiga now boasts overseas five offices in the USA, China, Dubai, South Africa and Nigeria.
Tebas was joined by Antonio Barnuevo, the Spanish ambassador based in Nigeria; Antonio Barradas,the LaLiga country manager for South Africa and Vicente Casado, LaLiga’s managing director of international development.
Ambassador Barnuevo expressed his pride at the partnership agreement: “I’m really satisfied that one of the most powerful institutions in Spain, and probably in the world, LaLiga, has opened an office in Abuja. I believe that we’ve got a bright future ahead of us.” In terms of what this future holds, Tebas noted that the link-up could well see Spanish teams travel to Nigeria in years to come: “LaLiga clubs could visit Nigeria to play friendly fixtures. Indeed FC Barcelona could come to Nigeria and that would prove just what a great league the NPFL is.”
Shehu Dikko, chairman of Nigeria’s League Management Company (LMC), believes that the partnership represents a turning point for Nigerian football: “We’re delighted with the small steps that we’ve taken to date and we wish to thank LaLiga for deciding to open an office in Nigeria.”
Nigeria is a football mad country with a reported 15 million Nigerians claiming to be fans of the Spanish game with the mobile phone being a key device in the viewing experience in the African country.