Football is not new to Sugar Daddies.
From Silvio Berlusconi to Roman Abramovich, the game has had men, rich men, stupendously rich men who romance the game for the good – and the bad. We won’t broach the ugly side, though.
In Nigeria, before Ifeanyi Ubah there was Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Moshood Abiola – men whose involvement with the game projected their brand names.
Well, fans of Abiola could disagree saying before football, the chief was “already made” by spending a chunk of his personal wealth towards improving Abiola Babes and Nigerian football.
But then, there are people who got to know about Abiola because of Abiola Babes. Those who will remember ITT and June 12 and not the two-time Challenge Cup winners are either a cross between the “old school” and the “new school” or both. Perhaps they are not a fan of the beautiful game or are too PG-minded to approve of the term Sugar Daddy!
But we can “humour” them by showing the link that exist among the three focus keywords – Ifeanyi Ubah, football, and sugar daddy – if they will only read beyond this line.
DEFINITION OF “TERMS”
Since you have read up to this line, we will take it for granted that you know one or two things about the game. No? If you answered “no” or “yes” to the “no” question, here what Freedictionary.com says about the game of football:
foot·ball (fo͝ot′bôl′): n. Sports. A game played by two teams of 11 players each on a rectangular, 100-yard-long field with goal lines and goalposts at either end, the object being to gain possession of a ball and advance it in running or passing plays across the opponent’s goal line or kick it through the air between the opponent’s goalposts.
Did that help? We assume it did even though we know assumptions are the bane of most Economists!
Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah is not an Economist but a businessman and chairman/chief executive officer of Capital Oil Limited, which he founded in 2001.
He was born on September 3, 1971, in Otolo, Nnewi. He’s married to Uchenna Ubah, a graduate of Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaira “the mother of my five children – a girl and four boys”.
On June 12, 2015, Ubah completed the takeover of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Gabros International FC following an approval granted by the League Management Company (LMC). The change of name took effect from Match Day 11 and all points accumulated by Gabros International FC were transferred to FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
For more info on Ubah, visit the websites of Capital Oil, Labour Party of Nigeria, or Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN)!
As defined by the website Seekingarrangement.com, it refers to: “successful men and women who know what they want. They’re driven, and enjoy attractive company by their side. Money isn’t an issue, thus they are generous when it comes to supporting a Sugar Baby”.
Not explicit enough? Have this from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:
“Sugar daddy is a slang term for a man who offers support (typically financial and material) to a younger companion (typically a female), with the sugar daddy getting favours (typically sexual) in return from the younger companion.”
Before we derail and start getting unnecessarily “excited”, let’s get back to the beautiful game.
SUGAR DADDIES AND FOOTBALL
A lot of football clubs have hugely benefited from their billionaire owners who have constantly ridiculed FIFA’s Financial Fair Play rules! Nobody has mentioned Manchester City here!
A football focused website, www.footballmanagerblog.org, identified three types of Sugar Daddy clubs in the game – who depending on the money politics at the club are separated into three groups:
Front-End (Foreground) – The owner throws money at the club to spend.
Back-End (Background) – The owner spends enough to make the club a force in their current league but if they go up a level or two it would no longer apply.
Underwriter – The owner doesn’t give the manager any extra transfer budget but come the end of the season, he will always cover any loss the club is making and will not expect the money back.
So, which category is Ifeanyi Ubah in? Also, it’s now pertinent to ask: what does Ifeanyi Ubah want from the game?
Here are three views on the “unholy” trinity as told to TheCable.
Patrick Omo-Osagie, the principal consultant at Sports Concern Nigeria Limited and a columnist with goal.com, expects Ubah to run his club like a business venture.
“Except he runs it like a business, he will find himself like those before him, MKO, for example,” he said.
“Nigerian professional football is a black hole. But he has a chance to change the way football is run and managed. He can force the hand of the LMC to be more open and the sponsors to show a lot more interest.”
‘A LEADING EXAMPLE’
Kayode Oyewande Emmanuel, the chief executive officer of Wandykay Sports Consultant based in Lagos, says Ubah is an example worthy of emulating.
“Ifeanyi Ubah has been so good to Nigerian Football,” he said.
“He has spent nothing less than N500 million on FC Ifeanyi Ubah both in buying the club and financing it, just to support the game in Nigeria.
“You see, it’s not all about having money but about spending it and using it to solve national issues. So many people are richer than Ifeanyi Ubah in Nnewi but they prefer to keep their money to themselves and their family. Our billionaires should please come up and sponsor Nigerian football league. Ifeanyi Ubah is leading with example.”
‘WATCHING HIS NEXT MOVE’
Oladimeji Loko, the deputy editor of Complete Sports newspaper, is sceptical about the new found love between the Nnewi chief and the game.
“On the surface, the sudden interest will help the sport – at least the footballers playing for his team will be assured of their pay since he has money to spend,” he said.
“But beyond that, I believe he wants more. I won’t be surprised if Ubah wants to be governor of his state tomorrow. People like him don’t just spend without expecting something in return. Watch his next move!”
Before doing that, let’s summarise his short term plan.
Target: Growth and development of Nigerian football
Profile: Driven by success in business, he looks to replicate it in football management. He is rich, connected, focused, and established, but still likes the game.
The Game: He has no time to waste in meaningless interactions – professional or personal, Capital Oil or FC Ifeanyi Ubah. So, he knows what he wants.
The Bait: Money, money, and more money on the game.
We are now “watching his next move” while hoping and praying his short term plan is not different from his long term plan which we don’t want to believe is:
Target: Political office
Profile: Success and soccer are most times two words separated only by spelling. Sometimes both seek single purpose of recognition. Sometimes both seek multiple purposes of domination and destabilisation.
The Game: The man Ubah constantly trying to exert his dominance over the people through his involvement with the game.
The Bait: Yet more money, money, and more money on the game with “government money” on his mind.
But even King Duncan in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth was at a loss in mind reading.
“There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust,” he said.
That’s our conclusion, too.
We trust Ifeanyi Ubah’s genuine love for Nigerian football…for now.