Ex-Nigeria internationals and Players’ Union which has been clamouring for change in the administration of football in the country appears close to realising its goal as the signs of victory look evident, even before the elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation billed for September, 2022.
It is aware that to attain the desired change in the administration of football in the country, the constitution of the board of the Nigeria Football Federation has to change.
To change the way the board is at present constituted, former players and other stakeholders went to court to halt the elective congress of the NFF, insisting that the NFF statute must be amended to allow for more and equitable representation of all stakeholders.
They eventually secured an interlocutory injunction from a High Court in Bayelsa State which stopped any further step towards holding the congress until the case before it was decided.
The move by the concerned stakeholders which resulted in a court injunction was almost turning into an irony as it provided an alibi for the NFF board. “They(board members) wanted to hide under the injunction, delay the congress and ultimately delay the election which is expected to usher in a new board,” a source revealed, adding that the board members held a zoom meeting and perfected their plan to stay put till February 2023.
“They wanted to go to Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast in January next year. That is why they were indifferent to the court injunction that stopped the congress.”
Even more uncomfortable for the board was what one observer termed as “the insurgency” within the NFF structure which saw 28 state FA Chairmen, traditionally deemed to be lackeys to the board, revolt by passing a vote of no confidence in the NFF leadership.
“That was an additional headache to the NFF,” our source said under anonymity. More astonishing was the fact that the state FA chairmen signed the resolution by appending not only their signatures but had their passport pictures affixed to their names and signatures. This jolted the NFF leadership but they kept their plans under wraps as they had their plan to stay longer than their tenure.
The dissident FA Chairmen were having a field day as they insisted that a change was inevitable for Nigerian football to move forward.
Reading the mood of the NFF board members, the players’ association applied a master stroke when it petitioned the presidency, intimating the President of the discrete disposition of the NFF towards the September election.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development reacted to the petition with a directive to the NFF to ensure that they don’t flout their own statutes and advised that the September election is held as scheduled.
“Their plan to hang on was bursted by President Buhari’s directive that they hold elections,” our source said, adding that “the court order under which they were hiding under will be vacated soon. I wonder where they will run to now.”
Apart from ensuring that the election is held, the President also directed that the NFF Statutes must be amended to accommodate other real football stakeholders who was either under represented or were not represented at all on the board.
We gathered that with President Buhari’s directive, the NFF has now been thrown off balance while the stakeholders will now have a say in football matters and be part of what happens next.
“For instance, they have reached an agreement that certain conditions must be respected before the elective congress. In legal terms it is called consent judgment,” our source said, even as he would not reveal the conditions although we gathered that it is about constitution of the board.
Given the new twist in the election saga, a member of the ex-footballers union, Harrison Jallah has confirmed that the process to vacate the court injunction was underway.
He said, “We are working on getting that order suspended or discontinued with completely, pending when the congress is held and the amendments we asked for are done. When we achieve that, then we can proceed to the elections. That is the position for now.”
Jallah continued, “There is a compromise now that we go and get the case out of the court which we are preparing to do now. We are looking at the whole of next week and I believe by the end of next week we will be through with that procedure.”
He further informed us what their petition to the presidency contained. “We informed that under the present statutes every member has equal status in the assembly but a particular member twerked the statute to suit his interest. For instance, there are 44 members in the congress and when you have 37 FA Chairmen, in every election they will have a majority. As I speak to you, they are 11 on the board out of 15 members. The other 4 are taken by the clubs that represent the leagues.”
Government’s subtle moves, we gathered were deliberate in order not to be seen as interfering in the internal affairs of the football governing. This, Jallah concurred. “All the government has done is simply telling football stakeholders, ‘no, we don’t want this under representation in the assembly to continue and the football family to go and resolve your differences. But in all you do, the September date for the election remains sacrosanct.”
S’Falcons Edge Lionesses, Await Banyana For Olympic Ticket
After a goalless first leg encounter in Cameroon in the third round qualifier for the women’s football event at the 2024 Olympic Games in France, the Super Falcons of Nigeria edged the Indomitable Lionesses by 1-0 aggregate score line to reach the final round of qualifiers.
The second leg was pivotal for the Super Falcons considering that their opponent’s stifled them in a goalless draw at Stade de la Reunification in Douala last Friday.
Competing on home ground on Monday, the Nigerian team started the match strongly and saw their efforts rewarded in the 14th minute when Esther Okoronkwo scored the opening goal, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
During the second half, the Nigerian team implemented several tactical adjustments aimed at consolidating their lead.
In the 91st minute, Cameroon’s Annie Enganemben was shown a straight red card and was subsequently sent off, as Nigeria held onto their lead to walk away 1-0 victors and progress to the final round of the Summer Olympics qualifiers after winning the tie 1-0 on aggregate.
The Super Falcons have their sights set on qualifying for their first Olympics since their last appearance in Beijing 2008.
Their win against Cameroon could pave the way for a highly anticipated matchup against African champions South Africa in the final round of qualifiers in April 2024.
The Super Falcons hold the distinction of being the most successful international women’s football team, boasting a record eleven Women’s Africa Cup of Nations titles. Their last triumph came in 2018 when they defeated Banyana Banyana in the final.
Furthermore, the team stands alone as the only women’s national team from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to have reached the quarter-finals in both the Fifa Women’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics competitions.
The Super Falcons await the outcome of the match between South Africa and Tanzania, scheduled for yesterday, to determine their next opponent.
Banyana Banyana held a significant advantage following their 3-0 victory in the first leg.
Rivers Hoopers Sign American For Basketball Africa League
Rivers Hoopers have completed the signing of Will Perry for the 2024 Basketball Africa League.
Perry, who played for Ferroviario da Beira for two consecutive seasons, helped his team reach the quarter final of the 2023 BAL.
The American tied the BAL record for most points scored in a game and also set a record for most three-pointers made in a single game. He set the record when he scored 41 points and 8 assists including 9 three-pointers in Beira’s 109-97 win over SLAC at the 2023 BAL Nile Conference.
Perry was awarded the 2023 BAL sportsmanship award for his fairness and role played during the season.
The point guard averaged 17 points, 6.5 assists and 5.2 rebounds in the Basketball Africa League season three.
The 29 year old has previously played for CB Zamora of Spain, ADO Basquetebol SAD Ovarense (Portugal) and Akademiks Bulteks 99 Plovdiv (Bulgaria) before playing on the African continent.
He becomes the first major signing made by the reigning Nigeria Premier Basketball League champions as they prepare for their second appearance at the BAL.
Tennis: Coach Banks On Quadri For African Games
Nigeria’s table tennis coach, Segun Toriola, admits being nervous leading the Nigerian team to the forthcoming African Games in Ghana next month, but is counting on Aruna Quadri to maintain the country’s dominance in the sport when the competition begins, Tidesports source gathered.
Toriola who took over from Nosiru Bello last December, was without Quadri in his first major tournament at the World Table Tennis Championship in Busan, South Korea where Team Nigeria failed to record a win at the tournament.
Quadri had pulled out of the tournament ITTF World Table Tennis Championships due to food poisoning but has since recovered and is ready to feature at the African Games tournament according to Toriola.
“I’m in touch with him (Quadri),” Toriola said.
“I spoke with him. He is now okay and he is going to participate in the African Games. He is ready. And everybody in the team is happy about that. I’m in touch with him. I spoke to him. He is taking care of himself and so he is going to play. He is aiming for his first African Games gold medal.”
At the last edition of the African Games in Rabat, Morocco, Nigeria were ranked second after winning 10 medals (two gold, four silver and four bronze) and have finished among the top three in the last four editions of the competitions.
In men’s singles event in 2019, Olajide Omotayo won gold, Quadri Aruna silver while Toriola clinched bronze. Toriola and Omotayo won bronze in the men’s doubles event, just as Quadri Toriola and Omotayo won silver in the team event.
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