26th November, 2013
The 69th Annual General Assembly, AGM, of Nigerian Football which is being organised by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, is scheduled to hold in Warri, Delta State on Thursday.
The AGM is an occasion where events in Nigerian football in the last one year will be appraised and programmes for the next one year in the country’s football scene will be planned for.
The AGM was supposed to be held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, but after Governor Rotimi Amaechi said that the football body is corrupt, the NFF questioned the moral justification in holding the meeting in that state and had to find alternative host in Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
All 14 members of the NFF Executive, NFF management and 88 delegates, comprising chairmen and secretaries of all state’s Football Associations, chairmen and secretaries of the Premier League, National League, Women’s League and Nationwide League, and chairmen and secretaries of Nigeria Referees Association, Nigeria Coaches Association and Players’ Union are expected at the event.
Expected, the AGM will be a veritable platform for the president of the NFF, Aminu Maigari to celebrate the achievements the country had attained in the last few months. A floodgate of successes was opened early in the year with the Africa Cup of Nations trophy won by Stephen Keshi and the Super Eagles, the laurel that had eluded the nation in the last 19 years. The Golden Eaglets won the FIFA U-17 World Cup, while the Eagles secured one of the Africa’s five tickets for the country to play in her fifth FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Brazil next year. The Super Eagles Team B qualified for the first time ever to participate at the African Nations Championship, CHAN, which will take place in South Africa in January. This is a tournament designed by the Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, for mainly the home based players.
Though all these achievements are worth celebrating by the incumbent leadership of the NFF, we believe that there are lot of issues that need urgent attention if the game must be developed to meet up with its counterparts across the world.
The NFF has not done much to develop football at the grassroots. No effort is being made to ensure that talents that abound in the nook and crannies of the country are groomed for them to be exposed and bring them to the limelight.
Despite the huge amount of money Globacom is committing to the sponsorship of Nigerian Premier League, the attention giving to the league by Nigerians is nothing to write home about. The 2013/2014 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League, which was initially scheduled to commence on 20 November has been postponed indefinitely. The poor welfare package for players in the domestic league is also worrisome. Players are being owed Sign on fees and match bonuses. Theses nonetheless have affected the morale of the players to perform to their optimum level.
Women football in Nigeria has never enjoyed patronage as its male counterpart. No sponsor has ever come to the rescue of women’s league since inception and previous AGMs had made failed effort to address the problem
Nigerian football will be entering the new year with a lot of activities and preparations for the events would determine the results which the nation will get from those activities.
The home based Super Eagles will be going to South Africa for the African Nations Championship in January, while 2004 is a World Cup year and the nation can only experience failure in Brazil if we prepare to fail. The AGM in Warri must look into how best to prepare for the World Cup for the country to surpass her record of past four appearances in next year’s championship.
Next year will also be the period when two World Cups for the U-17 women team in Costa Rica and U-20 women team in Canada will be staged. Nigeria will no doubt be aiming to feature in the two tournaments which tickets have to be secured through rigorous qualifying series.