Once again, we welcome the newly elected Nigeria Football Federation board. The congressmen have spoken and Amaju Pinnick for the next four years or thereabouts will oversee the day-to-day running of the round leather game in the country.
Many have likened the emergence of this administration to as ‘Daniel come to justice’ not thanks to the in-house crises that have engulfed the nation’s football sector following the Super Eagles exit from the second round of the 2014 Fifa World Cup. To others, they claim “No cause for alarm, Nigeria will be among the top ten football playing countries under Pinnick…”
Plausible as this optimism may sound, what should be the priority of the newly constituted board as Nigerians still bask in the euphoria of a supposed new dawn in the Nigeria football industry?
At the other end, some have said that the NFF-board will only succeed if they do not slip on the banana peels that have fallen before those that have gone before.
“It is a task that my predecessor won almost every laurel but we will improve on that. With this team, we are going to reposition football and take it to the next level,” – Pinnick
Well, towards achieving this target and taking Nigeria football to the expected apogee, the board must pay urgent attention to some key issues that could mar their stay in office.
First, the Pinnick-led administration must set out to unite aggrieved parties in the football fraternity in a bid to have brouhaha-free administration. No doubt some individuals in the football house feel cheated due to their disenfranchisement from the recent electoral process and in making peace with them, goals can be achieved. Apart from this, it will prevent the in-house crisis that has bedeviled the growth of the game in the country as stakeholders spend most of their times in the court of law.
With immediate effect, strategies must be put in place to ensure the qualification of the Super Eagles for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nation. Failure for the African champions to make it to Morocco will mark the beginning of their collapse as a vote of no confidence will be passed on them by Nigerians (who over the years seems to have accessed the success/failure of past administration with the performance of the senior national team). In doing this, the future of Stephen Keshi should be decided also as this could stand as an encumbrance to achieving this mission.
Does the secret of improving Nigerian football lie in the grassroots game?
Slightly away from this, grassroot football development must be paid attention to as the slow and steady fall of Nigeria football is a punishment for neglecting the game at the grassroots level.
In doing this, the league in the country will be given a facelift as the standard will improve as sponsors would start trooping out of their hiding places to associate with it as it was in the beginning. Talking about the league, it should be mandated for Premier League and Pro-league clubs to have feeder team.
Should this be done, fielding of over-aged players for cadet championships and recycling of spent forces for the senior national team will be a thing of the past. Also, there will be room for progression of players from one cadre of national team to the other and this will heap bountifully on the Super Eagles and Super Falcons.
Furthermore, the federation should engage proficient coaches for all the national teams. Not only that, but with sensible contracts. With this, the handlers will have no option than to invite players on merit to the national team. This will ensure we parade our best legs for international competitions and will also discourage corrupt practices engaged in by our coaches who often call on players based on the clandestine motives.
There is need to for them to get sponsors that will enable them run programmes and achieve independence to a large extent. With this, there won’t be a repeat of instances where players and coaches are owed backlog of unpaid bonuses/salaries.
In summary, the executive committee member must be transparent and be committed (sincerity of purpose) towards making the game in the country strive for greater heights. Personal gains should not be a driving motive for wanting to be at helms of affairs at the NFF.
Should the above be paid rapt attention to, I see the Amaju Pinnick-led board becoming the best ever NFF administration to run Nigeria football.