Corruption: Nigeria Professional Football League Stinks

By Daily Sports on December 13, 2021

Views: 629

Honestly, I have been depressed since Sunday, December 5, when the sad news of the sudden demise of my very close confidant, Elder John Akaah, reached me and also hit me like a thunderbolt.

We were contemporaries of the first order. We shared things together and you would understand, my dear readers, my frame of mind and heart, as I tried to put this column to bed this week. It was not easy at all, I must confess.

Like good sports man, I have been trying to come over it but our fond memories together have bluntly refused to go away.

Each time I remember his very kind family he suddenly left behind unannounced, my mind skips. And I take refuge in shedding tears as I keep asking to no one in particular, what happened? What went wrong, could it be how he and his Creator planned it? No answers, as days draw by.

For the records, we were classmates in primary school far back in the village in the mid-1970’s. In short, I was his Best Man during his very high society wedding in the mid-1990’s in Lagos.

We have remained close until death did us part recently.

He graduated from the prestigious University of Lagos, Akoka.

I have been feeling empty ever since, to say the very least. Let me anchor here as tears kept flowing freely as one tries to piece these few lines together.

Yes, before Rivers United FC was again booted out of the second tie of CAF Championship, CAF Confederation Cup. I penciled it down the quality of Nigerian League as one to be looked into this week.

I don’t know if you have really come to terms on the quality of league Nigeria is organising thus far.

Let me remind you, dear readers, that I covered the League comprehensively during its amateur years when Pepsi was the major sponsor. I was in charge of the League in Saturday Times, a then must-read Saturday newspaper from the old good days Daily Times of Nigeria PLC.

It was called VICTOR ENYINNAYA: PULSE OF THE BIG LEAGUE, a one-page review and analysis of all what you need to know on the then League players, coaches, pitches, referees, clubs managements, predictions of the day’s games, etc.  I must also say that matches were played on Saturdays then.

It was fun as every stakeholder was put on his or her toes. It paid off beautifully. One would not rule out sharp practices then and other vices but it was never laid bare in the open as it is, sadly, the order of the day today.

You can vividly bear me out that in Nigeria today, people come out stoutly to defend what benefit them only. Time has changed drastically that these many dirty rich Nigerians, due to hunger and quest to get rich quick, does it like sing- song in the land today, buy their way easily to get support that ought not to.

As I was going through some stories last week before this page went to bed, I read a story that quoted one Benjamin Iyama blaming League Management Committee (LMC) for the bundling out of Rivers United FC from CAF Championships the club vied for in the ongoing clubs completions in the continent.

I did gloss over the story but just decided to give it few lines by saying unreservedly that Iyama is not only an alarmist but one that seeks to be noticed. Where is he coming from? What is his background in this round leather sport? Who is he really speaking for?

That he is organising one roadside club peopled with little boys would not ordinarily make him a must-read personality over night to open his mouth wide to criticise LMC or NPFL, even NFF, just because he is looking for favour from some people in Rivers United FC.

What has been happening to this well-funded team is self-inflicted injuries and until Boma Iyaye tells himself the home truth, this will continue. Hiring the likes of Benjamin Iyamas of this world would remain no solution for the team’s problem. The team has obviously failed to do its home work well, despite the solid support from Rivers State Government.

Yes, there are fundamental problems with the above bodies but that is not enough for any football club that qualified to fly the flag of Nigeria in any of the CAF Club Champions to sleep on duty, only to resort to hiring mercineries like Benjamin Iyama to be misleading the public so that the Governors that appointed them would look the other way, instead of bringing them to spotlight for inefficiencies.

I believe it is neither the LMC nor the NPFL that does recruitments and hiring of technical crews for the clubs or organize their training schedules. True that the league season ought to have started fully to aid, prepare or make the clubs be in top shape for the CAF Championships challenge, but it is more true that clubs management and coaches, including Commissioners for Sports in the affected States, ought to be ready and put their thinking caps always and also have Plan B that would navigate their teams out of turbulent waters when such arises.

Instead of Iyama dwelling into real issues of bribery, corruption and other obvious vices that have been the lot of the topmost cadre of NPFL and other support branches like the referees, Match Commissioners, Match assessors, etc., he was playing his paid master’s voice, leaving the dark shots in the Nigerian Premier Football League, instead of the kind of lame duck advancement or submissions by Benjamin Iyama.

I don’t know of LMC on corruption but on inept administration, but on the way forward for viable league and stronger leagues, yes; but, however, all I can firmly say is that NPFL is corruption personified.

NPFL headed by Shehu Dikko is swimming in corruption. That practice has held our local league hostage, thereby not allowing for true League champion to emerge.

The highest bidder syndrome crept into the entire fabric of the body with those that are supposed to be impartial arbiter aiding and abetting such unwholesome and abnormal practices. This has crippled the league and presenting weaker teams in CAF Club Championships – ties ONE and Two.

What is happening inside the house of this so-called Nigeria Professional Football League (NFPL) today leaves sour taste in the mouth. Without any prejudice, the NPFL has failed woefully on its avowed mission as conceived by the founding fathers whose vision was to midwife a stronger, bribery and corruption-free, strictly professional in all ramifications, result-oriented, profit-making venture being ran purely by men and women of high integrity, uncompromising attitude in all facets. But look at now.

It was same story of weak club this ongoing season and again, three of our teams are already out of the way: Akwa United, Rivers United and Bayelsa United. Like last season, only Enyimba International FC is still hanging on until the Aba-based side’s encounter with Libyan team it defeated in the second leg played in Aba recently, then we take it from there if the two-time CAF Champions’ League winners can survive Libya Club threat.

It is one scenario that calls for pity and weeping for the Nigerian League. Club managements are solely interested to buy the first position in NPFL at the end of each season so as to justify the millions they collected from their State Governments but could not reproduce such feat at the CAF club competitions level.

Last season, Plateau United failed at the first round and this year, it was the turn of Akwa United to repeat same. For your information, the only interests these short-sighted managers have are lifting the league shield locally.

To complete the circle, Rivers United FC may outwit others in the-yet-to-be flagged off NPFL season. Methinks that such is one huge achievement the Boma Iyaye-led Ministry of Sports would love to bequeath the very hard working people and government of Rivers State after huge investment on the team that has yielded near nothingness.

After Boma Iyaye raided Enyimba International FC camp two seasons ago and bought over her first rate players, Rivers United FC, with those boys, are even the worst for it.

The focal point of this week’s write-up is how corruption must be tamed in our league to allow it produce or throw up true champions and sundry in order for the clubs to face squarely her counterparts in the continent. Enough of this disgrace! It has turned the country into laughing shock in the eyes of other countries.

War-torn countries like Sudan, Libya, etc., show Nigerian clubs the way out of CAF club championships over these years. When will this stop?

Shehu Dikko is earnestly eyeing to succeed Amaju Pinnick as President of NFF. He is leaving no legacy in NPFL he started heading from inception. No innovation whatsoever, but rather corruption index growing in three digit-points each passing season.

Join us in our social media handle as we discuss further, this knotty and nasty issue in the house of NPFL. Keep shooting hard till next week as the struggle continues!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted December 13, 2021


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