'Money miss road’ at glasshouse

By Ikenna Okonkwo on 12/03/2018

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Who still remembers one of the popular manuscript for senior Pupils or young Secondary school Students known as ‘Chike and the River’, written by late literary icon, Chinua Achebe which painted how Chike, a native of Umuofia who later lived in Onitsha desperately needed money to enter boat and cross over the River Niger, then get to Asaba but didn’t have the amount to get to his target destination?

He (Chike) later got the money he wanted and moved on to Asaba. On getting there, he became a hero after he busted a criminal syndicate. However, being a man who was not exposed, the rare sight and various scenes beleaguered his thought to the extent he forgot the right time for him to get back to the river bank so as to return back to Onitsha.

The narrative as captured in this mythical work plays out daily in real life for some People and institutions. In fact, what is happening around the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) epitomises the experience of Chike in this direction.

The present style of leadership in NFF, spear-headed by Amaju Pinnick gets worrisome by the day. As a matter of fact, the very trust of this administration, from inception seems lost even when sponsors keep rolling in.

Like Chike, Pinnick (though not in financial terms) was never in the initial picture when electioneering which led to the emergence of incumbent NFF regime began. If you followed event closely back then in 2014, present Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC) and NFF’s second vice President, Shehu Dikko was touted to take over from Aminu Maigari, immediate past NFF Supremo. Things incidentally turned around before the very election day in Warri and fate quickly smiled on Pinnick.

After the Delta-born administrator eventually emerged and backed by the powers that be within the country’s football and sports fraternity, he began campaign for support from relevant stakeholders including the media with a promise to exercise quality management. As time went on, despite initial battle that ensued between him including other members of NFF executive board and the other factional group led by Chris Giwa, Pinnick alongside his Lieutenants, began to experience a sigh of relief.

Relief in the areas of Stakeholders’ support and corporate sponsorship has been pleasant. First, the federation approached Kits’ sponsors, NIKE, to supply camping and playing apparels for the various category of our National teams after Adidas deal ended. NIKE reportedly agreed but the details of their contract were concealed in secrecy.

The resultant effect has forced Nigerian teams including Super Eagles, Super Falcons, Flying Eagles and other teams’ players and officials to continue struggling to access NIKE kits whenever they are invited to camp. In fact, officials at the Glasshouse (headquarters of NFF) many times tell them to come along with their own kits. When the federation manages to provide, the entire team members will be subjected to wear and wash before the following training session or match.

Moving on, a lot of obvious retrogressive actions have beclouded this administration which has been pencilled to terminate come September 30, this year. Yet the ‘selling point’ has remained that much, which should guarantee Pinnick’s administration a possible return has been achieved.

Again, like Chike, Pinnick, the former Delta Sports chairman beat all odds and emerged as an executive member in the current Confederation of African Football (CAF) set-up under Ahmad Ahmad as President. His support for Ahmad who ran against the then incumbent and ‘lord of the Manor’, Isa Hayatou paid off for him.

Yet, under Pinnick’s watch, for the first time, Nigeria’s Under -17 Women team, Flamingos failed to qualify for 2018 World championship. Their qualification was neither due to lack of skills on the path of players, nor prowess on the side of technical crew but for lack of preparation time for the upcoming footballers.

Since 2014, Nigeria’s soccer governance has kept creating or beating records at will. It is in this dispensation that five time World champions, Golden Eaglets failed to even make it to the continental under-17 championship, not to talk of reaching the global stage, barely two years ago. Flying Eagles that have hitherto made tremendous impact at the world stage, failed to pick ticket to be at African under-20 tournament within the same era.

Back to back, under the sitting NFF’s government, Nigeria’s biggest football brand, Super Eagles failed to make it to Africa Cup of Nations (2015 and 2017).

The recent happening that broke the camel’s back was a repeat of 2016 protest by Nigeria’s most senior Women team, Super Falcons over their backlog of allowances after they returned from Ivory Coast, venue of the just concluded WAFU championship.

These set of players who were still at this same camp as at the time I was putting down this piece, refused to depart their camp base in Abuja upon return from Abidjan, after they struggled to pick bronze at WAFU, and insisted that allowances from when they began camping and during the competition must be cleared.

The most recent demonstration which lasted almost all through this out-going week, took place few days after NFF spent millions of naira and dollars to host who is who in the global soccer in Lagos, in the name of organising awards that later turned a ‘mockery of sorts’.

In 2016, as shameful as it sounded, Super Falcons who won African Women Championship for the 8th time had to protest for their rightful pay before they eventually got it. As I write, both former/present Flamingos and Falconets players and officials are still being owed.

With the abundance of monies which daily find their way into the coffers of Nigeria’s football house, will one be safe to say that there is still much missing link in the administration of NFF? At what point will money stop missing road at Glasshouse?

Image result for pinnick amajuPinnick

 

Source Whirlwindnews+

Posted on March, 12 2018

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