Following the recent
ban placed on Nigeria by World Football governing body, FIFA, over what it sees as government’s interference, which will bar the country from participating in any international games, Nigeria are sharply divided over its propriety and impact.
While some see it as an ill-wind that would take the country several years back in the game, some said that it would be a blessing in disguise.
FIFA had in a letter dated July 4, 2014 demanded for the immediate reinstatement of the ousted Aminu Maigari-led board of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, which was removed in line with an order from a High Court in Jos.
The world body insisted that the ban will only be lifted once the court action is withdrawn and the ousted executive committee members reinstated.
According to a coach with Rivers State Sport Council, who did not want is name in print, the ban is a huge setback for the country and underlines the many problems trailing the organization and administration of football in Nigeria. He called on the authorities to do the right thing that would lead to the lifting of the ban.
Former Super Eagles Coach, Christian Chukwu expressed disappointment over the ban and feared for the future of the game. “I am sad to hear that FIFA has banned us. From all indications, if things are not done according to FIFA, we will miss out of the 2015 African Cup of Nations, our U-20 girls won’t play in Canada and lots more. Our football will suffer a lot as this can only take us backwards,” Chukwu said.
Coach Justin Jenger said it was a shame that we have to do the right thing by FIFA. “This is the saddest thing ever to happen to Nigerian football, where are we heading now?” he queried rhetorically.
But the Assistant Coach of Rivers Angels FC, Port Harcourt, Whyte Ogbonda threw his support behind the sacking of the NFF board and said that if the FIFA ban is the price the country has to pay to reorganize the administration of football in Nigeria, let it be so.
Ogbonda said that the ban would turn out to be a good omen that may help Nigeria. He urged the authorities in Nigeria not to placate FIFA by reinstating the ousted NFF board, describing the NFF as a very corrupt institution that has been running the game aground.
When reminded that the ban would affect even club-sides on continental assignments, the coach said that such clubs should persevere and see it as a sacrifice or the rebirth of the sector in Nigeria. He however urged that the period of the ban should be used to restructure football administration.
Meanwhile, former FIFA Adviser and member of FIFA Study Group, Festus Onigbinde has urged Nigeria to call the bluff of the world body, while he wants Nigeria to obey FIFA, he wants government to hands off football sponsorship.
According to Onigbinde, he who pays the piper dictates the tune and if FIFA doesn’t consider Nigerian government’s sponsorship and investment in football as interference but intervention as a result of court order to ensure peace and order as interference, then my advice is that the government of Nigeria should hands off entirely the financing and sponsorship of the game in the country. Let the administrators removed by the NFF congress be reinstated and start sponsoring football all alone without the support of the government of Nigeria.
“If FIFA says we should bring them back, let’s do so but they must look for their own money to run their affairs because giving them money will also amount to interference. What the nation should do now is to sit down and restructure our football physically and technically.”
‘Super Eagles Coach Lacks Class’
Former Nigeria international, Victor Ezeji, has slammed Gernot Rohr, describing the German as a coach who has not improved the Super Eagles, with reference to their style of play and talent management.
Rohr recently helped the three-time African champions qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon after their third-place finish at the 2019 tournament in Egypt.
Despite the team’s success, the former Enyimba striker said the tactician, who has been at the helm since 2016, has not impacted the Super Eagles with a particular style of football and he lacks the class to co-ordinate the players.
Ezeji expressed his frustration after Rohr’s men failed to score a goal in their twin friendlies against Cameroon. They suffered a 1-0 loss against the Indomitable Lions last Friday before playing out a goalless draw on Tuesday.
“I have never been a fan of Gernot Rohr but the truth is, sometimes it is not even about the result and sometimes, your team can play very well and lose, people could say they lost and there is prospect for the team,” Ezeji told news men.
“But in the case of this Gernot Rohr’s team, they are not playing very well and they are not winning; so, people will definitely complain. We have known our Super Eagles to have flair when playing, but that has not happened under him, whichever way he wins his game.
“There is no flair in their game, I think he is done with the team if you ask me because he is not showing anything, no class. We’ve got the players but I think what we lack is who co-ordinates them.”
Last year May, Rohr agreed on a two-and-half-year contract extension to remain as Super Eagles coach with the target of guiding the country to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and also win the 2022 Afcon.
Ezeji argued that the former Bordeaux manager has not been a success in Nigeria and he recalled how indigenous coaches Christian Chukwu also led the country to a third-place at 2004 Afcon before Stephen Keshi’s side triumphed at the 2013 edition in South Africa.
“I don’t know what his contract with the NFF looks like but personally, I don’t think he has achieved anything because even our indigenous coaches got to third at Afcon and we became the continent’s champions,” he continued.
“In his own case, third-place is not enough at all with the kind of personnel and abundant of talents we have in Nigeria presently, he should do better. As I stated earlier, it is not about winning the cup but it is about playing good football and there are ways you do that.
“Remember Imama’s [Amapakabo] U23 boys’ game against Libya in Asaba [U23 Afcon qualifier in March 2019], we needed three goals to go through but after the first-half, everybody was like even if they did not get through we are satisfied with their performance but the boys got the result and advanced.
“We need to start seeing that kind of performance in our Super Eagles, nobody has any confidence now that even if we play market women they will win. We need to have that confidence in our team and be rest assured of good football against any opponent.”
350 Golfers Set For IBB Golf Captain’s Tourney
No fewer than 350 golfers and 50 tennis players will be competing in the inaugural IBB Golf and Country Captain’s Tourney in Abuja.
The tourney which is expected to tee-off from Friday, June 10, to Saturday 11, 2021 at the IBB Golf and Country club which will see professional golfers battle in the Handicap 19 to 36 event while the amateur will clash in the Nest event.
According to the Chairman Organising Committee of the 2021 Inaugural IBB golf Captain’s club, Olabanjo Obaleye said preparations are in top gear to host a successful tournament.
He also noted that the golfers and officials would be in adherence to all the COVID-19 protocol towards ensuring the safety of all Stakeholders.
“This tournament is to usher in the new Executive Members of the IBB golf and Country, which is done after every new executive Member is elected.
“We have gotten some sponsors for the tournament and I can tell you that they would be mouthwatering prizes for the winner and consolation prizes for best loser.
We will also have a dinner on Saturday where the prizes will be presented to the winners.
“Also we have put some modalities in place to ensure the safety of all players and Officials for the tournament.” Olabanjo said.
HiFL: UNIBEN Royals Tackle UNICAL Malabites
Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, the organisers of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), has released the draws for the round of 16 games at an event held in Lagos. The games are scheduled to be held between June and September 2021.
In Week 1, AAUA Luminaries will play OAU Giants in Ondo, FUTA Tigers will tackle UNILAG Marines in Akure, LAUTECH Hunters will attempt to hunt down the FUTMINNA Transformers in Ogbomoso while KSU Steelers engages UNILORIN Warriors.
For the week 2 games, Uniben Royals will play defending champion UNICAL Malabites, IAUE Minders will tackle UNN Lions in Port Harcourt, ABU Nobles will confront UAM Tillers in Zaria while BUK Stallions slugs it out with UNIMAID Desert Warriors in Kano.
Speaking at the draws, Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Sola Fijabi acknowledged the efforts of all participating schools and encouraged them to maintain their sportsmanlike conduct as the games go on. “We are now at a very exciting stage of the league. What was witnessed during the qualifiers was the tip of the iceberg. The schools are ready and what we assure lovers of collegiate sports is double excitement. We appreciate the support of NUGA and our sponsors Nivea Men and Minimie for their trust in HiFL and as we deliver value to all our stakeholders,” Fijabi said.
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