In a bold step to ensuring that Nigeria’s grassroot clubs align with the new trends in developmental football, the Nationwide League One (NLO) have fixed an age limit for players that will next season take part in the Division Two and Three League.
NLO Chairman and Executive Member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Mohammed Alkali said the Secretariat will begin to sanction teams, as the era of clubs using largely experienced players to prosecute matches in the Division Two and Three is now over as from the 2023 season.
A statement from the nation’s third-tier domestic league media department quoted Alkali, “It’s now an eyesore seeing clubs using over-aged players for Division Two and Three games.
“The use of these players for matches in the short or long run is not a result oriented programme, as the two divisions should not be a place to find semi-retired players who ought to be assistant coaches or at the National Institute for Sports (NIS) attending coaching courses.
“We have taken a critical look at it and sum up that such an act is not a prerequisite for the positive growth of our grassroot football. Hence, as from next season, clubs in the two divisions will use the league for developmental programmes.
“So only players that fall within the age bracket of 16 and 19-years-old will be given a license to participate in the league for their respective clubs.
“However, don’t say the NLO Secretariat is harsh for fixing an age limit for the league as the Division One will accommodate any player regardless of his age be it below or above 18-years-old.”