By ROMANUS UGWU, Abuja
General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Musa Amadu, has singled out the crisis rocking the Nigerian Premier League as the toughest challenge and worst setback that confronted the game in the country this year.
Fielding questions from the media before his departure to Port Harcourt for the Federation’s Annual General Assembly (AGA), the NFF’s chief scribe maintained that the crisis did not only put a big doubt to the credibility of the rating of Nigerian League as the continental best, but also affected clubs participating in continental club competitions.
While accessing the 2012 football year for the country, the General Secretary argued that the federation did very well this year, insisting that apart from the crisis, the qualification of the all the national teams for continental and international tournaments was a big plus. His words: “We overcome the challenges of 2011. We saw our girls who participated in the FIFA World Cups in Japan and Azerbaijan and they did very well.
We equally saw how the Super Eagles qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations next year. They are also topping their group in the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers that will recommence in March next year. “The Under-17 boys and the Flying Eagles, who are the future of the Nigerian senior national team, have all qualified for the Morocco and Algeria championships next year,” he said.
Commenting on the low points, Barr. Amadu said: “However, I must admit that it has been a very challenging year for the football federation but with the support of the stakeholders, the National Sports Commission (NSC), the National Assembly and media and everybody, we have been able to see a very momentous year. “We are of the expectations that having built the foundation, we should by next year, be able to reap and consolidate on what we have done in 2012.
Yes, it would be difficult to remember the lows points we had this year, but you push me hard, I would tell you that the crisis we faced at NPL was really the biggest challenge for Nigerian football. We saw a league that was rated the best in Africa, struggling to recommence. “It was a thing of concern for us that all clubs and the players in those clubs were unable to ply their trade, especially the four teams, participating in the continental tournament being very redundant waiting for the competition beginning in January.
“The leadership crisis has not really helped us, but I’m happy that we are moving forward. We should therefore put it behind us and ensure that a very sound footing is put in place so that we can start the Premier League as soon as possible. It is very important because the league is the raw material and bye product for the national teams,” he lamented.