As Nigerian football bleeds . . .

By Daily Sports on April 4, 2016

Views: 4,213

As it is now, Nigeria’s football is in deep crisis. One school of thought has it that the sport is bleeding profusely and that if no adequate attention is given may result to its natural death. If you like to put it mildly, you may say that the game is at the crossroads. From whatever angle you may be looking at it, the fact is, head or tail, the game is not generally at ease presently in the country, as things have since this regime came fallen apart.

I don’t know about you, but the composition of the present executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (BFF) has proved to be faulty in all ramifications. There are more of jesters in the supposedly serious business of football administration than planners, as well as those who can propel policy formulation and precise implementation. Their acts since they assumed office have given them out woefully. For instance, instead of being sober on how the federation once again bungled our chances of qualifying for the 2017 AFCON slated for Gabon, its President Amaju Pinnick was busy advancing reasons why he will not resign and other unnecessary sundry. That scene, no doubt, corroborates my assertion of NFF having more jesters than men with honour.

Our football and players are the worst hit by their obvious lapses. There must be thorough soul searching by those that genuinely have the passion for the multi-billionaire USD game that is being toyed with in the land that houses the largest concentration of black people in the globe. The actions and inactions of the board have left a sour taste in the mouth. There must be a way out of this avoidable logjam. We knew it is easier to affirm focus on the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but the big question is, what concrete steps are on ground that would ensure that the country would not find herself in a tight rope again.

Indications pointing to the direction of imminent overnight mathematical calculations outweigh whatever might have prompted the leadership to quickly present such indulgence to Nigerians. For this writer, it is nothing but a garbage of lies, mere talks that carry lots of empties. This board has not logically planned and executed any programme conclusively since inception; therefore anything coming from there must be taken with a pinch of salt by serious-minded people.

To be honest with you, I had wanted to look the other way as if something grievous never recently befell the game in the country but numerous text messages from our very loyal readers subdued whatever strong conviction l had earlier nursed. I have always known that these are not normal times for the round leather sport in our country.

Then these titles cropped up, “Nigerian Football – Paradise Disfigured” and “Pinnick’s AFCON Jinx Lingers”, before the above was finally settled for. As if l was being heard, the supremo of the Football House in the country, the very unrepentant and egotistical Amaju Pinnick, was already telling whoever that cared to listen that he will not resign, as he never regrets engaging Sunday Oliseh as then Eagles coach. Let me confess, immediately my stomach turned. I lost appetite in everything Pinnick. Since he came to head NFF the country has unfortunately found herself in a fix. It is instructive to note that Nigerians have suddenly resorted to this prayer: “Let this cup quickly pass over us”.

The man that claimed causing a ‘sports revolution’ in Delta State as its Sports Commission boss for years – which I often disputed, my cogent argument based on the premise that if he could not transform Warri Wolves into an all-conquering football club, then on what concrete foundation could he peg his claim that he is all-conquering? I digress.

Truth is, the board has been overwhelmed by the enormous job in the NFF, hence it keeps going round in circles, leaving our football more in tatters. It is on record that Pinnick as the helmsman of the apex football house set the uninspiring record of presiding over Nigerian football and missing out on two consecutive editions of AFCON, yet he is there beating his chest and claiming right. This is a pure case of a man without honour. It shows that he did not learn anything from Sunday Oliseh, who saw obvious failure coming and did the honourable thing by turning in his letter of resignation. That is what Pinnick and his failed executive committee members should opt for. But no way, they choose the inglorious lonely track of sitting tight and spewing arrant nonsensical tales to Nigerians.

I was like, who is advising this self-styled ‘expert’ football administrator of our time? Instead of him to apologise to the people and government of Nigeria, he is forcing the bitter pills down their throats . . . Pity!

I quickly remembered a portion of the recent Daily Sports star personality interview with the very suave Godwin Dudu-Orumen where he emphatically said that football administration in the country lost track after the regimes of erudite Amachree and Chief Sunday Dankaro and finally went off the radar when Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima was sabotaged out of office with the connivance of the then FIFA Secretary General.

Let me also draw your attention to the Expert Analysis published by your authoritative Daily Sports the morning after the AFCON ouster. It was not only scholarly presented by the writer; the facts therein were accurately researched. Due to its lucidness, it attracted much traffic of readers to our website. You may check it out under the MOST READ section of

After reflecting on those two publications, it dawned on me once more that the nation’s football is home to roost in a depressing and shameful atmosphere. It may interest you to note that Pinnick never cared a hoot about what has happened to the only symbol of unity the country can readily boast of. Gloomily, too, he was busy rubbing it in, blabbing that those calling on him to throw in the towel have missed the point, that he is going nowhere and that his lame duck leadership of NFF would now focus on the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Story, story! A tale by moonlight stuff, I can hear you chorusing!

Many eminent Nigerian football administrators have called for a change of approach to the formulation of football policies and execution. In the forefront is veteran football administrator and former Second Vice President of the federation, High Chief Oyuki Obaseki, who in an exclusive chat with this newspaper unequivocally appealed to the Pinnick-led body to imbibe the culture of openness if the game would not be condemned to a more dismal fate. He was not alone on this; former Sports Minister Bala Ka’oje has advocated for the holding of a national sports summit.

Another seasoned administrator that played key roles during the very memorable tenure of Chief Sunday Dankaro, Prince Isidore Oduah, never minced words shortly after Oliseh was brought through the back door by Pinnick. He said in several interviews that Nigeria won’t qualify for AFCON 2017. It has come to pass. He now calls for measures that would steady the administration of the game “as the enormity of the sport has overwhelmed these boys” – as he puts it. Oduah believes that there is nothing to hide again, that they lack the capacity to drive football in the country to safe anchor.

The views of High Chief Oyuki Obaseki and Prince Isidore Oduah are my views. Everything points to the fact that football in the country needs drastic measures to stem its further slide. But to Pinnick and his cohorts, nothing is wrong with our football – all that is happening is normal. All we are asking for now is a full probe to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of this disaster and chart the way forward. No more, no less!

This platform would ever maintain its traditional openness, balancing of viewpoints and, of course, upholding our avowed social crusade for the total liberation of the game in the land from the grip of the never do wells. That has been our covenant with you, our very reliable and loyal readers, the reason we are waxing stronger each day! Meanwhile, we wait!!!

•Victor Enyinnaya can be reached via 08055068145 (sms only) or by e-mail via

Source Daily Sports

Posted April 4, 2016


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