Nigerian football never failed to cause amusement for the on and off field events. References to Nigerian football now hardly centre on languid skills of our stars or some outlandish displays producing dramatic results. Rather it is comical acts from those either administering the sport or the other side pretending to be ruling.
Global audiences no longer talk about Nigerian skilful players as in the active days of Rashidi Yekini, Austin Okocha or Nwankwo Kanu. It is now about happenings in courts, not the tennis courts, and the administrative buildings.
Readers and fans are getting bored on the reportage of happenings in the domestic scenes, they now focus more on foreign leagues where no one hardly hear or read about the chairmen or presidents of football clubs or football associations. The active participants – the players, the coaches or managers as they are called – are the centres of attention.
If a Nigerian player or coach gets mentioned in the media, it is most likely for the wrong reasons.
Elsewhere, football has become a lucrative brand that other brands struggle to partner with. Continuous controversies have robbed Nigerian football of economic benefits attendant to viable marketing, sponsorship and partnership. Little wonder, the sport has constantly been tied to aprons of governments.
It is as if football in Nigeria has to constantly yield one controversy or the other in other to get attention.
Last week, the pretenders to the administrative power of the NFF, the Giwa group, issued statements alleging impersonation on the part of Amaju Pinnick for attending the FIFA Congress. A pertinent question is: what stopped Chris Giwa from travelling to Mexico venue of the Congress if he feels his presence was important?
I put this question to him so that he will realise if indeed he is in authority. I am sure he is aware that one does not just walk into the congress hall without having a locus standi. As a journalist registered with the FIFA media channel, I was invited, like others to apply for accreditation for the congress.
In a similar vein, duly recognised chairmen/presidents and general secretaries of affiliates of FIFA were invited and paid for to attend. Chris Giwa should stop causing unnecessary confusion by laying claims to a position he did not possess.
The Registrar of the Federal High Court has come up with the expository on the happenings of the April 8, 2016 pronouncements. He made it clear that the court did not sack Amaju Pinnick. This implies that there is no change in the leadership of the NFF. There is no vacuum in the headship of the federation.
Let Giwa produce anything to the contrary. If the court feels its orders have been violated, it does not need Giwa for it to take appropriate measures. Being granted a prayer to re-enlist a case withdrawn for any reason whatsoever, did not amount that the ultimate case of becoming the head of the NFF had been granted.
He should also have known that the case may run its full course at every stage and may end up at the Supreme Court. By that time, the tenure of the present administration might have been over and another election may either have taken place or beckoning.
One does not contest his inalienable right to seek for the headship of the NFF. But he should not conduct himself in a way to bring down the esteem of that office. I did challenge the decision by the last congress to make him ineligible for the next election. But Giwa has done little or nothing to endear himself to the congress which ultimately constitutes the Electoral College. He has dragged his novel football club into his political warfare giving the impression that if he were at the helm, rules and regulations governing the domestic league may not be obeyed. His club’s decision not to honour league matches was hinged on its interpretation of last month’s court’s ruling in which the LMC was not even a party.
Giwa’s group has pronounced a 10-year ban on Amaju Pinnick and some other people. Given that Giwa’s NFF is not recognised, therefore as per Art. 17 (4) of FIFA Statutes, its decisions shall not be recognised. This clowning must stop.
“Salute to Joao Havelange at 100”
What an insightful tribute. Vintage Solaja.
– Tony Onyima
Brilliant piece on Havelange. Absolutely brilliant. Old soldier never dies. If I can start writing regularly like you and the likes of Ikeddy Isiguzo, Mitchell Obi, Fabio Olanipekun, Tayo Balogun and Paul Bassey, our sports will be better for it. Well done my brother.
– Onochie Anibeze (08033034924)
I also chose to salute him for his contributions to the global advancement of football for the benefit of mankind and a peaceful planet. Happy birthday to Dr. Havelange, my mentor!!!
– Ejikeme Ikwunze, Mr. Football
Kunle, earnestly I have just finished reading your article on Havelange titled “Salute to Havelange at 100”. Am so impressed about your records, facts and honesty. More grease to your elbow, Oh! Sorry! Your fingers and sharp memories.
Ben Egagah (08130732897)
We tend to look at the negative side of people more than the positive. I join you in your salute to Havelange.
– Anthony Okoka Jos. (07065289833)
King of Sports, you are too much. Just carry go because you just made my week. Well done sir.
– Benjamin Alaiya.
Who else can tell it this way? Kunle Solaja. I saw these qualities since our youth service days. Keep on the good work.
– Ridwan Hussein Abarshi
Whichever way you look at it, Dr. Havelange is a great man who repositioned the beautiful game (jogo bonito).Great leaders also have their weaknesses because they are humans. But their legacies remain forever. Checkout Mao Tse Tung (Chairman Mao) of China, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Lenin of the old Soviet Union and several others. Today, Nigeria headed to China to beg for assistance because of bad leadership. Happy birthday, Dr. Havelange.
– Elizabeth Okeagu Ahuronye
The untold story of Dr. Joao Havelange cannot be completely told in one article or by one person or region… Indeed, that is what makes him great in spite of any scandal surrounding him! Even the fact that today he is 100 is enough to confirm his greatness.