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Don’t Just Tweet Football, Play Football

If there is one thing that unites the over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, it is the love for football. On match days, the entire Nigerian space–offline and online–buzzes with news and football commentaries. Bars are

Twitter Premier League © My Destination Nigeria

If there is one thing that unites the over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, it is the love for football. On match days, the entire Nigerian space–offline and online–buzzes with news and football commentaries. Bars are crowded. Online spaces go agog with views and comments, and fans throw bants to supporters of rival teams, especially on twitter.

 

On one particular match day, one of the founders of the Twitter Premier League, or TPL, Efe Ori-Jesu, challenged rival football fans to stop tweeting about their skills and views of football but instead should come out and show it. This is how the TPL slogan came to be: Don’t just tweet football; play football.

TPL…one of the biggest football leagues in Lagos state

In less than a month after that tweet, the inaugural TPL game took place on Democracy Day ( May 30) 2014 at Meadow Secondary School Hall in Lagos state. Since then, the TPL has had 6 more tournaments and has grown into one of the biggest football leagues in Lagos state.

 

On what has been behind the success of the TPL, Efe Ori-Jesu said ‘The trick is to have a motivated and effective team… I am grateful that TPL attracts people who are eager to deploy their talents in building something fun and exciting.’’

Foodies, book lovers, volleyball players, music heads are welcome

What makes the TPL unique is the kind of people it draws in for tournaments. Although the TPL is based on football, foodies, book lovers, volleyball players, music heads are welcome. The TPL becomes a place to hang out with friends, watch football, eat, drink, and enjoy music. Match days are usually fixed on public holidays to enable its fans, who are mostly young entrepreneurs and regular nine to fivers to attend and have fun.

 

Starting up the TPL was not an easy feat, but despite all the challenges in Nigeria the TPL team has been able to stay afloat. Discussing the future of the TPL, Efe Ori Jesu says “TPL will be the grassroots revolution for genuine sports talent development, not just football. We would love to see nationwide leagues for football with grade level competitions where the best progress to the next grade level, and then not just for football, but for as many sports as possible.’’

 

Featured image: My Destination Nigeria

Lucia Edafioka
Lagos, NY – Lucia Edafioka studied History and International Relations at Ebonyi State University. She is an alum of the Farafina Trust Writing Workshop and a prolific writer. On twitter and Instagram she is @oghenelucia
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