By Joe Apu
The plight of players in the domestic league in Nigeria has been attributed to poor funding and poor administration by managers of the league as well as club owners.
This is the candid opinion of former chairman of the Abiola Babes football club of Abeokuta, Mohammed Edewor.
In this interview Saturday Sun Sports, he speaks on the way out for the domestic league to return to its glory days, the Super Eagles and his ambition to become the next President of the Nigeria Football Federation.
Who is Mohammed Edewor?
I will summarize my credentials. I serve on the board of a club in Greece where I am the vice president. I single handedly encourage Nigeria footballers to Europe in the days when many players found it very difficult to travel out. I was in the committee of the very first World Cup that was played in America. The then Head of State picked six of us that we must get to USA’94. That committee was headed by Alhaji Ali. My deal was bringing players from the grassroots to top class.
When we were running football, we don’t need huge sums of money like we do now. I have once single handedly sponsored a club with my money. SuperSports has also helped in promoting our league but unfortunately, the deal is not clear. Look at Lobi Stars they are now developing little by little but all of a sudden they are now playing below average.
The money on T.V right alone is much. I can say that DSTV is one of our main problems. People who don’t have money don’t have the right to watch football. The argument that football kills our ball makes a sound argument to me.
The league is the main thing that makes our football grow. For instance, we almost got eliminated from the forthcoming FIFA World cup in Russia due to poor record keeping. Somebody sat there with a hell full of staff. It shows how bad the present federation is running our football. This is simple. The federation should have computerized the secretariat and things like this would not slip by. The player may not know he was red carded. If such a thing should occur in an European clubside then I foresee trouble in the board room. Let me also say this, 90 percent of the income should be from the marketing firm which also show how bad our football marketing skills is.
And another thing, the F.A must make sure the players must benefit from the league sponsorship funds. If the players earn good pay at home they would not be heading to Malta and other smaller countries to earn peanuts all in the name of playing professional football abroad.
If you are the manager in a bank and you want to run for the post of NFF president fine. You don’t have to kick the ball but you must have management skills and there must be transparency. You don’t have to be chairman of 3SC before going into that. Thank God for smart phone, the F.A of English football is not a footballer but the English Premier League is one of the richest in the world.
My agenda as President of the NFF would first be a re organization of the league. We should have a four tier league of 24 Professional league teams. The division 2 league will be 23 then we shall have another league in the same manner and then at the state level. At the highest level, 4 goes up, 4 goes down. I will make sure I set out a minimum of 70 percent wages for all clubs.
Secondly, I will improve the referees. After the standard wage, I will try and improve the referee. I will rather make the referee become professional because they are the guardian of football.
That Amaju Pinnick is from Delta State just like me is not an issue. The last three Presidents of the NFF were all northerners. What is important is what I am bringing to the table.