At the recent CJID’s Media and Development Conference, Fola Olatunji-David, serving as a panelist discussing “Tech for Development,” highlighted the pivotal role of technology as an enabler in football.
Olatunji-David, who holds the position of Technical Adviser to the Minister of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy, whilst speaking with Ayoola Adeleke of Platinum News spoke on the impact of technology on revolutionizing football strategies and enhancing fan engagement.
“Tech is an enabler. It enables football by measuring and collating statistics,” stated Olatunji-David.
He stressed the crucial role of technology in providing coaches with vital insights, citing examples where coaches utilize halftime possession statistics to strategize and instruct their teams effectively for the second half.
“For a coach, he knows the first half possession and can give instructiions to his team on what he wants in the second half. That is entry level.”
Elaborating further, Olatunji-David emphasized the importance of utilizing technology at the player level, highlighting the collection of data points such as recovery levels, speed, and physicality. Drawing parallels between video games and real-life scenarios, he noted how players in these games exhibit various attributes, such as pace, shot power, and defensive prowess, which could be replicated and monitored in professional football through technology.
“At payer level we try to collate their recover their recovery level, speed, physicality, etc. mlMany play video games and we can see over a hundred data points , their pace, their shot power, their defensive prowess.”
Highlighting a vision for the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL), Olatunji-David outlined plans to introduce technological advancements, starting with streaming to enhance the league’s visibility and create a positive impression among football lovers.
“Tech will also help build a community,” Olatunji-David remarked, recalling an instance when few Sporting Lagos fans ventured to identify themselves at an away match in Lafia against Lobi Stars.
“When Sporting Lagos played Lobi Stars, there were about five fans who travelled and risked themselves to identify as Sporting Lagos fans in Lafia.”
He emphasized how technology, including video games, fosters an interconnected global community where football lovers transcend geographical boundaries and follow players across various leagues worldwide.
“We play video games, we know of players in Spanish,English and even the Turkish league. Tech is helping to export the culture.”
As a Board Member of Sporting Lagos, Olatunji-David expressed his commitment to leveraging technology to not only enhance the NPFL but also export Nigerian football culture on a global scale.