It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to write to you as we round off the 2020/2021 season.
Although the season was beleaguered with very unique challenges, we roared on as Lions, notwithstanding.
As a renowned businessman, P.T. Barnum, is quoted to have once said, “no one ever made a difference by being like everyone else”. Vandrezzer FC has come at such a time as this, to pioneer change in the dynamics of club football in Nigeria.
As a club, one of our primary goals is to ensure that our fans get the best experience of their favourite club, on and off the pitch. Therefore, in a strategic move at the start of the season, we decided to relocate from Ikot Ekpene stadium in Akwa Ibom State to our current home in Agege stadium, Lagos in January 2021.
Without a doubt, Lagos welcomed us with open arms at the Soccer Temple, Agege.
The pre-season matches we played to get the feel of Lagos took us straight into the season in an unbeaten run. This helped us to keep our head high with the hopes of making the most of the season.
Just before we began our sojourn in the 2020/2021 NNL season, Group B1 of the Southern Conference, we completed the signing of many players; and to bolster our technical team, Coach Madaki Mustapha Alfred came on board as an assistant coach. Madaki would later become acting coach until half time of the season, following Rafael Everton’s return to Brazil due to personal reasons.
As a club that places high priority on Health and Safety, all players underwent pre-medicals in line with FIFA prescribed standards at the club approved retainership facility, Reddington Hospital, Lagos. Notwithstanding the contribution made towards the players insurance taking out by the NNL, the VFC board approved additional insurance for all players and coaches to the tune of N240 million (almost $500,000 USD) with premiums fully paid.
In a bid to soften the setback of not having fans at the stadium due to government's COVID 19 prevention regulations, and as part of our commitment to you, we invested resources and concluded plans to bring all our matches to you LIVE on your devices.
The decision to make every single VFC match available to you both on the go and in the comfort of your homes, did not come without obstacles which included getting assaulted by rival clubs’ fans, attempted extortion, lack of adequate security for equipment and personnel at away matches, and a fine by the league body which had armed us with an authority letter to broadcast. All of these led to a decision by the VFC board to withdraw from the league on April 15, 2021; fueled by the fact that there seemed to be no end to the bottlenecks placed on our path within the league.
Eventually and gladly though, the league body took a positive step, to review the issues, especially with respect to number of cameras, approving unrestricted use of cameras and equipment for both home and away matches, bringing to an end, the era of recording games with one or two cameras. With this laudable decision, we shook hands and decided to give it another try.
Through all these, you, our dearest fans, stood by us. Your loyalty boosted our confidence and as Lions, we pushed on with our innovations and transformation agenda believing to be the change that would power a new era in club football in Nigeria.
Our return to the league was on time for the commencement of the second half. We, however, did not sit on our oars during our time off, as we continued our normal camping, reshuffling and beefing up with new players to fortify the squad ahead of the second stanza.
Our preparations saw the signing up of the former MFM FC head coach, Tony Bolus as the new gaffer for Vandrezzer FC. Following the clubs induction, Coach Bolus and the rest of the technical crew were subjected to international trainings in Sports Science under the guidance of our Sports Science Director, Chris Barnes (UK). The coach and his assistants were also schooled online by the coaching team of 1. FSV Mainz 05, playing in the Bundesliga league, Germany; as well as other capacity building programs, to enhance the team’s output.
The launch of our jerseys halfway into the season was borne out of the need to have a fresh start, after our earlier withdrawal from the league. We hope you loved them as we pledge to keep improving on our designs, promising also to never compromise on top quality and excellence.
Our ONE LION campaign took off, full swing this season, as we moved against Poor Officiating, Bad Football Pitches and Hooliganism - some key clogs in the wheel of Nigerian football development. We intend to continue with more advocacies next season, with the aim of getting everyone onboard to positively re-define our football to meet global standards.
To upgrade the viewing experience of our live matches, we acquired world standard, state of the art media equipment that will beam our matches and other content from the club to a global audience. We would also be recruiting more club personnel to join in the execution of this mission. We are also looking to recruit qualified technical & sporting directors to strengthen the team technically.
VFC is going through rebranding, with new key messaging and templates that will deliver our brand stronger to the world, in line with global standards. This new face will be unveiled shortly.
Our state of the art VFC training facility design has commenced and site clearing will begin in the coming weeks; while development of On Demand OTT video platform to showcase not only VFC activities but other sporting activities and documentaries is ongoing. All of these are being put in place to continue to delight our fans watching and supporting from the comfort of their homes.
Plans are already underway to welcome you, our great fans back to the stadium once the ban is lifted. We promise to display the Vandrezzer V-Way of football artistry, entertainment, arts and hospitality - OUR FOUR CARDINAL PRINCIPLES.
We are very grateful to our amazing sponsors VANDREZZER ENERGY SERVICES, HEXXEN and SME for financially and morally seeing us through the season. We realize that it has been a taxing season with our relocation and continued innovations which has gulped enormous resources. We pray we have done at least enough to earn your trust and continued support in the coming season and beyond. Thank you so much.
We also thank our football partners 1. FSV Mainz 05 for their various activations with us - Digital Talent Day (April 11, 2021), the Coaching Training in May, and continuous guidance and encouragement as we strive to be a global brand similar to the Bundesliga giants.
A big thank you also goes to our consultants and friends, whose advise we have taken to overcome the peculiar challenges of football business in Nigeria. We are very appreciative of your walk with us.
We express our deep appreciation and thanks to the Lagos State Football Association, Lagos State Government, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Football Federation for their administration; and to the Sports Ministry who have pushed for the re-classification of Sports, particularly football, as “Business” in Nigeria.
We especially thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for the enabling environment, and issuing a presidential directive to the Nigerian Football Federation to come forward with a football development master plan for the next 10 years. Once activated, we believe it will steer the football sector unto a path of progress, providing the much needed youth empowerment in this sector, bringing about FDIs leading to transformation that will greatly impact our GDP as a nation.
We also plead for the development of more basic infrastructure in the country, to help facilitate the ease of doing sporting business in Nigeria. Our seamless train ride to Abeokuta is an example of how the presence of functional infrastructure does not only delight citizens of the country, but also saves time and stress on the people.
The Institution of adequate security and infrastructure is really key in order for football teams to transit from one point to the other without fear or loss. To members of the football family we have lost this season, we pray that they rest in perfect peace. We are hopeful and indeed positive, that their efforts to contribute their own quota to the development of the game shall not be in vain.
We appreciate our coaches, players, full time and ad-hoc VFC staff. Their dedication and team spirit has been second to none. We could not have come this far without your dogged commitment to the vision.
To our fans, who have stoically remained with us through the storms, I wish to express a profound appreciation for your loyalty and unshaken support for your beloved club. We have seen and are excited about how you are spreading the gospel of the Lions of Naija. Please continue...as we strive on this journey together.
Our recognition by the African Football Digital Benchmark as the 29th most followed football club in Africa, and our verification by Facebook and Instagram were all milestones that you helped us achieve. These milestones, we dedicate to you!
The 2020/2021 season has finally come to an end, and it is commendable to note that inspite of the huddles and bottlenecks, our beloved team finished in the top 6 on the league table. Although, we had set out to achieve much more this season; but with your unwavering support and contributions, we are more determined to come back stronger and better in the coming season because we are LIONS.
The team will be taking a break for few weeks and will resume to commence the Vandrezzer Energy Pre-Season which will be streamed live on our VFC app for all supporters to subscribe.
Hence, we implore you to become official members of the Vandrezzer FC family by downloading the Vandrezzer FC mobile app on IOS and Google play stores, and signing up on our official website: vandrezzerfc.com. This will give you an opportunity to be involved in our activities and innovative experiences that we will be rolling out during the break and beyond geared to bring you closer to the action-packed content being put together by your darling club.
We are delighted that the platform for purchase of your seasonal and individual matchday digital tickets will be up and running in the coming weeks; the digital ticket can be stored within the wallet app on your iPhone and Apple Watch or the Google pay app on your android phone. Once the stadiums are opened to fans, the digital ticket can be used to enter by tapping your device on the reader at the entrance. More details will be provided at the launch.
We feel a sense of extraordinary pride to be at the forefront of pioneering the new era of club football development in Nigeria; and look forward to having you, our esteemed fans, back in the stands, roaring for us... as we DARE TO DO MORE!
Thank you Lions.
Vandrezzer FC...Won’t Walk That Road Without You!