ANALYSIS: The undervalued brand that is the Super Eagles

Nigeria Super Eagles celebrating in their Match with Argentina

August 3, 1996, and it is the 89th minute of the football event of the Atlanta Olympics – Emmanuel Amuneke swung his left boot at a free kick taken by Austin Okocha from the left flank…

Pause – Amuneke scored and the pleading eyes of the Argentines swung to the bald-headed referee, Pierluigi Collina for offside salvation but no! Collina just pointed to the centre. Cue, the largest celebration ever witnessed in Nigeria. Can you remember where you were at this momentous time and what happened afterward?

I remember I was in Ibadan and people spilled unto the streets with drums and other musical instruments to spark a midnight carnival that was predicated on pure bliss. In evidence was the power of football and the intrinsic value of the national football team – the Super Eagles.

Nigeria had beaten Argentina – a football powerhouse 3-2 in a pulsating final.

That day, Nigeria’s name was loudly proclaimed from every rooftop – the day the U-23 national team, aptly nicknamed the Dream Team dared to fulfill the dream of Olympic gold.

Since that fateful day, such emotion has not been witnessed – maybe to a lesser extent was when it was pronounced that Nigeria’s head of state, Sani Abacha died.

What was the value of the national football team on August 4, 1996, and what is it now? Forbes says, “It might be useful to know that on average teams were worth 4.1 times their revenue.”

Those in marketing understand brand worth but the interesting part is that most brand owners do not understand the real worth of their brand!

The current Nigeria Football Federation, led by Amaju Pinnick seems to have happened on the right path, making the right moves but truly the Super Eagles, as a brand, as of today, truth be told, is still grossly undervalued.

In an interview with the Guardian of London on the Atlanta success, Abiola Kazeem said, “Success is usually accidental in Nigeria and Africa.

“Abroad, there’s some level of organisation and structure to the game but here, there’s no strategy or blueprint – it’s all down to talent. African sports teams succeed in spite of chaos.”

Since that breakthrough, the national team has suffered one breakdown after another, and has not been able again to scale such heights.

Without being at the helm of affairs, one can squarely lay the blame on the inability to properly organise the football structure and the lack of a cogent strategy that leads from breakthrough to breakout.

Though, it must be added quite quickly that we cannot take football in isolation of the general degradation that has happened in the Nigeria state in the last 31 years.

Oluwashina Okeleji of the BBC said of that 1996 triumph, “It gave the world a glimpse of what Africa can truly achieve on a world stage.”

Solace Chukwu, writing in described the event thus: “For that one summer, it gave an entire nation the one thing no dictatorship could take away: the power to dream.”

So why are we dreaming and not achieving?

In the ensuing years [31 and counting] after that victory, Nigeria has attended four World Cup tournaments and failed to get past the round of 16. On the local scene, Nigerian football clubs have achieved success in the CAF Champions League twice – in 2002 and 2003 through Enyimba FC.

Though the U-17 sides have achieved some victories on the world stage – silver in 2001 and 2009; and champions in the 2007, 2013, and 2015 editions. Though it is telling that Nigeria is yet to win the U-20 World Cup, despite all these successes at cadet level.

The U-23 side has also won silver at the Beijing Olympics in 2000 and a bronze at the last Olympics that took place in Brazil in 2014.

This lends credence to the fact that whatever has been achieved – either professionally or marketing-wise have been happenstances and what we currently have is just a glimpse of the real value.

Statista defines a brand as, “as a property that is trademarked and has associated intellectual property.”

The Super Eagles are the NFF’s premium brand and it is ‘delivering something special’ according to Warren Buffet. The Super Eagles are a veritable source of hope, ability, and pride for a lot of Nigerians – home and abroad.

It is said that when the Eagles are playing – the country becomes a homogenous entity, devoid of tribe, language, and geographical location.

Simon Mainwaring wrote, “The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability.” The maligning questions that have always been without answers border on transparency and accountability by those running the game in the country.

The NFF unquestionably has a value for the Super Eagles. But is that value accurate? Branding is like insurance. Insurance companies will pay premiums based on the value of the product, or asset.

Just recently, the NFF launched “The Naija 4 Russia initiative” which is expected to raise N2 billion to help “support the Super Eagles’ preparation and participation at the [Russia 2018 World Cup] finals). That declaration showed the valuation of the Super Eagles brand according to the NFF.

The Score defines the worth of a national team as referring, “to the sum of their players’ market values at the club level.

“Those values are assessed by the player’s salary, stats, age, and recent performances among other things.”

Thus compiling the strongest 11 of the Super Eagles [my choice] should give an indication of how much the present Super Eagles starting XI is worth.

NameClubWorth [$]
Francis UzohoDeportivo60000
Abdulahi ShehuAnorthosis Famagusta600000
Ola AinaHull City1800000
Leon BalogunMainz2400000
William Troost-EkongBursaspor1200000
Ogenyi OnaziTrabzonspor4800000
Wilfred NdidiLeicester City16700000
Mikel ObiTianjin Teda7100000
Victor MosesChelsea21500000
Alex IwobiArsenal12000000
Kelechi IheanachoLeicester City18000000
Super EaglesTotal86610000
N.B - All values courtesy

If premium were to be just 10 oer cent these first 11, the value of the Super Eagles would be approximately $8.7million – N3.1 billion! This is the starting 11 – a squad is made up of 23 players.

The calculation above is not a perfect example – firstly, the NFF must evaluate the worth of the Eagles using other national teams [clubs are valued in a different way] that are at par in terms of value and appeal.

After juxtaposing with these teams then the NFF might just find the right value in the partnerships they are craving and currying!

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