NFF logjam: A cause with a curse

By Ikenna Okonkwo on

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Anyone who has followed trends within the country’s football fraternity since Super Eagles crashed out of the just concluded World Cup hosted in Russia will continue to get confused by the day due to intrigues which have beclouded the entire circumstances.

Those who are oblivion of the genesis of the current snarl-up tend towards believing that a particular set of Persons are liable but that is not the case.

At a time when Stakeholders were previously being rallied to discuss possible solution to what has become like ‘a four-year, many troubles’ last weekend, a surprising thunder-like lightning struck right inside the headquarters of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) popularly known as glasshouse when a ‘troop’ from Department of Security Services (DSS) stormed and escorted the General Secretary of one of the warring factions, Dr Mohamed Sanusi to take over the reins of office particularly from past Monday.

This same day, former Presidents and General Secretaries of NFF and defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA) as well as few others referred to as Elders of Nigerian football have activated their movement to the Nation’s capital, Abuja ahead of a long-day meeting the following day (Tuesday).

When the news broke that Amaju Pinnick-led faction has taken over from Chris Giwa-led board penultimate day, it was like a well-calculated attempt to some but to others, views were divergent. Before a fresh twist to crisis was unleashed on Monday, yours sincerely actually got a wind of what later metamorphosed into reality as at last weekend, a period or even before then, series of meetings were triggered in parts of the country, especially in Abuja by varying interests.

 In any case, Elders of Nigerian football finally met on Tuesday with no fussy position on the incumbent issues after hours of deliberations, rather the embattled Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung told waiting media representatives that the warring factions would still be engaged in coming days and weeks.

Forward solution

At the moment, expectations abound with mind bugling inquest. Firstly, if eventually, the football Elders settle to hear and subsequently pass a somewhat verdict, in whose interest will such ruling be considering the fact that the judgement of lawfully recognised institution like the Supreme Court is still causing ripples?

Secondly, will any further wade in from any quarter not be seen as interference mainly by persons who would believe that FIFA will not accept such?

Honestly, no meaningful progress can be made with all these front and back approach tailored towards bringing a resolution in the impasse aside from practically going back to the very roots. In fact, complete hands off by the government in sporting activities in Nigeria especially in football will kick-start and mostly bring permanent way out of the myriad of problems which have crippled the ‘real’ development of Sports in a Nations with abundant talents adjudged as the most populous in Africa.

No Nation realistically flourishes while trying to manage situations as these. Chronologically, Nigeria football has known no peace since the past 16 years or thereabout. Every four years, once election is due, certain interest spring up from different quarters. And with each passing circumstance, very few of those inching to administer one sport or the other has core developmental interest at heart. The utmost attraction of many (up to 90% of the Administrators) is the amount of fiscal allocation from government (annually, quarterly or monthly) and perhaps sponsorship returns to their individual pockets. In real terms, take away government money, most interests will automatically fade away.

Under normal situation, anyone interested in administering or belonging to any public sports body should have proven himself as a private manager. In the case of football, such individual should stake his claim by at least forming and taking possession of a private (personal) club, not just being appointed by government to take charge, as a way of compensating political loyalty.

Not too long ago, the congress of Nigeria Football converged and agreed that only those who have emerged as state football association chairmen could only be eligible to contest as board member, Vice President and President as the case may be... this shouldn’t be the yardstick. If at all these congressmen have genuine interest of developing Nigerian football in mind, they will not take decision that solely favours them, instead decisions should be based on competence, not compensation or sit-tight idiosyncrasy.

I look forward to times when trained experts will take full charge of Nigerian sports, not politicians who are looking for how they will enrich their own pockets. Since, the ‘new’ Elders of Nigerian football has emerged, their hands are supposed to be full with enormous responsibility of re-writing the wrongs of the Nation’s soccer system. Ordinarily, having served as Presidents and General Secretaries of either NFF or NFA, they are qualified to be referred to as Elders but historically, existing baggage in the Nigeria football was initially created by some of them.

It can only take high sense of candour, devoid of sentiments for the Elders to settle the issues once and for all. Steady or periodic flexing of muscles by President’s men (Presidency) and Officials of Youth and Sports Ministry (that use to be National Sports Commission) is not necessary. Rather, it compounds the whole problem and further paints picture of a disorganised Nation in the eyes of the world. President Muhammadu Buhari would have recorded giant stride in the sporting sector if only he can pursue and grant full autonomy to Nigerian football and sports generally.

Four years from now, another World Cup tournament will be on the offing. Already, serious-minded Nations are plotting how to make better impact beyond what happened in Russia this year. Qualification for next year’s Nations Cup is on, yet no concrete plan is being made.

Perhaps, you have not heard, latest league football rating, released by Confederation of African Football (CAF) has exposed the depth of slum Nigerian football has been thrown into. As from 2018/19 when another round of CAF league competitions are staged, Nigeria is sure of losing double slots for both CAF Champions league and Confederation Cup. This is because, the much talked about Nations with most population of people in the continent, boasting of burden talents have dropped below 12th position in the perking order, the worst rating in recent times. Currently, all the leagues in the country has remained standstill, weeks after Super Eagles crashed out of 2018 World and after the mundial officially ended.

This (curse) of forward and backward movement to our national life must be annihilated. God forbid!

Image result for chris giwaImage result for chris giwa

Giwa and Pinnick


Source Whirlwindnews

Posted on July, 31 2018

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