Nigerian football is again swimming in ocean crisis. The freefall the country’s football has been at the Super Eagles level and the perennial failure of the clubs at Africa inter-clubs tournament is deeply rooted in administrative crisis rather than skills of the footballers.
Early crashing out of our clubs at both CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup has become regular feature. Added now is the struggle for qualification for Africa Cup of Nations where missing out is now an emerging pattern.
The third regular feature, as it came again to light at the weekend, is an unending legal battle to control the administration of football in the country. All in all, Nigerian football has become a global laughing stock.
Perhaps, until the Augean stable is cleaned, our football will continue to be in crisis. The crisis and the attendant failure of our teams are causing great trauma to most Nigerian football followers and those whose businesses and means of livelihood would have profited from healthy football results.
Stability in football administration and attendant good results would have given a cushion effect to most citizens groaning under the current economic. Rather, our football is adding to the pains.
The sad aspect of the unfolding scenario is that those jostling to take over the reins of football administration are not alternatives. They are mere substitutes.
How did we get to this point? No football administration since the ‘coup’ that overthrew the regime of Ibrahim Galadima ever had a serene environment to unfold and pursue any meaningful agenda. Like in the political arena, a coup always breeds another coup.
Even if Chris Giwa assumes control of the NFF, the regime will not have the peace of mind to implement agenda that will lift Nigerian football. A cycle of crisis has been implanted into the system.
What are the ways out? – Level playing field in which all stakeholders will be eligible to bid for a place in the NFF. The current crisis undoubtedly has its roots in the ‘cult’ situation which a core aspect of the last NFF Congress seems to have created.
Last December after the NFF Congress, I pointed out the dangers in limiting membership of the NFF Board to an exclusive “Club 88”. Item 12 of the communiqué issued after the general assembly indicated that an exclusive clique to perpetually run football administration in the country had been created. That is no doubt, a move towards anarchy.
The resolution reads: “Congress upheld the motion that candidates for position of President of the NFF must either be past or serving members of the Executive Committee of the NFF”. That literarily put paid to any ambition Chris Giwa or any other ‘outsider’ may nurse in leading the NFF in the near future. Even the often projected Segun Odegbami has also received a technical knockout.
Not done yet in the plot, the NFF Congress also resolved: “Similarly, candidates presenting themselves for Executive Committee position of the NFF must either be past or serving member of the Congress”. This resolution should be withdrawn as a first step towards restoring order in the NFF.
The unending crisis and the unabated slide of our national team may see the Super Eagles booking a place on the spectators’ stand when the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia. There is already an in-built mechanism for failure which will see us out of contention when the next stage of the World Cup qualifying series resumes.
A good foreign coach is desirable. It is almost certain that the financially distressed NFF cannot afford one now. So, it is more profitable to continue with Siasia.
He should not be judged with the ouster at the Africa Nations Cup as the damage had already been done with the NFF’s hiring of a smooth talking rookie coach who claimed he was begged to handle our lead football product.
The current employment of Siasia will technically lapse latest by August 20 at the final match of the Rio Olympic football tournament. After that, the U-23 will have no business until early 2019 for qualification series of African Games and that of 2020 Olympics. Why not give him the rein till when we can afford a good foreign coach?
On “To CAS, We must go”
You have made the point, Nigeria should protest to CAS. It will be a travesty of justice if the withdrawal and collapse of results of Chad negatively affects the running teams. What is their sin in it? However, shouldn’t the NFF have analysed this, even before it happened, and taken swift and spontaneous action? We are paying these chaps to guide our football, but all we get are complaints and incompetence.
– Emma Henda, Makurdi. (08082243624)
You are indeed a football guru! I submit that the NFF should exploit your soccer jurisprudence and lodge an appeal at CAS to challenge the situation.
– Cliff Kalu Obia, Ohafia, Abia State. (08036545519)
I am in support of going to CAS…Its very unfair. Truly you are a real KS.
– E. Jayhood, University of Calabar (08039302158)
As plausible and reasonable as this analysis is, we should rather get to grips with our football administration and take a hard look at ourselves and tell ourselves the truth. There is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of the system to allow for fresher ideas and creativity. We’ve had the same people running sports and football for over 30years and all we’ve got is flip flops. It’s time for a real CHANGE in that sector. It is going to be another scramble for estacode because the NFF never thought of the implications so how will they present the case? Will they go with Mr. Solaja or they will go solo? Secondly will Nigeria want to test the CAF statues with all its attendant implications good or bad? Let’s exercise caution so that we don’t look like sore losers. Good effort though
Nigeria has a good on the table of CAS and should work on issues raised by the master, Kunle Solaja, who should be included in the delegation to CAS. I have also discussed this issue on radio and television. Thank you so much for your piece which should act as the frame work.
Good article, plausible legal points from a patriot who means well, but perish the CAS thought. CAF made its rules before the competition started. CAF did not make Super Eagles to fail in Kaduna. Even if you can prove that Egypt induced Chad to withdraw, that’s diplomacy at work. Why wasn’t NFF or Nigeria that proactive? It is unfortunate that sports the minister is yet to understand his brief. I wait to see the direction he will point to Pinnick and his board members, who think their half-hearted apology, will ease the pain of back-to-back AFCON miss by Nigerians. Please let’s conserve our scarce forex, forget the shameful trips to Zurich.