FIFA Ban’ll Affect Grassroots Football

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Oluwaseyi Abidemi is the former Coach of Larry F.C. Club of Agege. He is now with Mosan  Okunola Local Council Development Area Football Team. He spoke with SUNDAY AKINTOYE about  the effect of FIFA ban on Nigerian grassroots football.

Why did you leave Larry F.C?
I have spent close to ten years with Larry Football Club. I thank God that I have a lot  of things to show for the years I spent with the club. Now I need a new challenge.

We learnt that  you fought the owner of the club, Olanrewaju Sanyaolu before you left,  your reaction to this?
(Laughs) Who gave you this wrong information.Sanyaolu is my boss and I will ever be  grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to serve the club for ten years. To put the  record straight, I left the club because I need to move on. Now, I am with Mosan Okunola  Local Council Development Area (LCDA).The council is playing in the ongoing Lagos Junior  League.

How is the performance of Mosan Okunola LCDA in the Junior League?
The council’s team are doing well in the competition. We defeated Agbado Oke-Odo 1-0 in  our opening game and lost 1-2 to Ori-Ade LCDA in our second game. Our next match against  Iba LCDA will hold this Saturday at the FIFA Legacy Astro turf football pitch at the  National Stadium, Surulere.

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What are your expectations in the next match?
My expectation is to win our next game because we are aiming to top our group at the end  of the day so that we can play in Division One next season.

FIFA has banned Nigeria from taking part in  international competitions indefinitely,  don’t  you this will have adverse effect on grassroots football?
There is no doubt football at the grassroots will suffer because we are not going to take  part in any aged grade competition organised by either FIFA or CAF. Activities at the  grassroots will defintely be at its lowest ebb. Coaches will be discouraged from  discovering  talents. I must confess everything will standstill. I am not really happy  about the situation.

Is it not the time for football administrators to look inward and develop our local  football?
The effort of grassroots coaches will be in vain if we fail to play in international  competitions. It will be hard to  assess our young players when they don’t play against  another country.  It is going to affect our young players who are hungry for success.

Would you quit your  coaching job now since FIFA has banned us?
I cannot quit because  this is my chosen career. I pray that  officials of Nigeria  Football Federation, NFF should ensure that they put their house in order before it is  too late.