Monday Sep 23, 2019. 11:00
Italian Seria A side Roma have signed an official partnership agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) having worked closely with the organisation in the last 18 months.
It may seem a strange alliance, but started when the lively Roma social media team decided to get behind Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after Italy failed to reach the finals.
It led to them starting a Twitter account in Pidgin, a language spoken by an estimated 75-million people in Nigeria, and using the hashtag #ForzaSuperEagles.
The relationship has two benefits for Roma, an entry into the African market through the continent’s most populace country, as well as a clear stand against racism at a time when Italian football still has a deep-rooted problem with the scourge.
Roma will provide guidance on matters relating to football, business and media expertise to the NFF, and the partnership could extend to Roma playing a fixture in Nigeria in the near future.
“We are excited about this unique partnership with AS Roma,” NFF President Amaju Pinnick said.
“We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally recognised space and the fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football.”
Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy at Roma, says the partnership has a number of benefits for the club.
“This formal partnership is the natural evolution of the great relationship between the NFF and Roma that began when Roma announced that with Italy absent from the 2018 World Cup, we would be supporting Nigeria,” he said.
“Roma’s digital team began working with the Super Eagles in 2018 on their social media coverage of the World Cup and earlier this year, we again worked with Nigeria during the Africa Cup of Nations.
“Through our unique use of social media, and initially using the hashtag #ForzaSuperEagles, we’ve developed an incredible and fun rapport with Nigerian football fans, media and celebrities.
“Jim Pallotta [club president] has made no secret of his wish to see Roma play a match in Nigeria as a thank you to the Nigerian fans for the support they have shown us and it would be great if through this partnership, we can make that happen.”