· ONE of the downsides of the Nigerian Federation Cup at the moment is a lack of sponsorship and prize money. Apart from the trophy and the CAF Confederation Cup ticket, the winners on Sunday will go home virtually without cash in the pocket. For a competition of such magnitude and historical significance to suffer such neglect in a so-called football-crazy country of 170 million people is an anathema. It just doesn’t add up.
This situation was not brought about only by the current economic recession in the country. Since 2008 when Coca-Cola ended its 10-year sponsorship, the Cup has not had another reliable & corporate financier. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been going cap in hand to beg various State governments to host the competition. This is not supposed to be so.
Two weeks ago, the English FA announced a fresh Billion Dollar deal for its flagship Cup competition, the FA Cup. It sold television rights for the Europe and Middle East markets for £245million pounds (about $300million dollars) for five seasons beginning from 2018/19. It also sold rights for the Rest of the World territories for £575million pounds (about $700million dollars) for the same five-year period. These are guaranteed payments from TV rights selling agencies Pitch International and IMG respectively. These do not include other numerous revenue sources.
Closer to home, the Nigeria Professional football League (NPFL) increased the prize money for the league champions this past season to N60million, amongst other acts of buoyancy. Surely, the NFF has to learn a few more things about how to prouctively market its properties including the Federation Cup rather than blame all its shortcomings on the recession and bad publicity all of the time. Necessity AND creativity are the purveyors of invention.
Kunle Solaja is Our Lionel Messi
· I DON’T have enough time and space to write about Kunle Solaja today. It suffices to say that he is the Lionel Messi of Nigerian football records, QED.
Last week, Kunle posted on his Facebook wall full details (date, venue, opponent and result) of the 99 World Cup qualifying matches Nigeria has ever played. He then informed the whole world that Nigeria’s next game against Algeria on November 12 will be our 50th home game and 100th overall.
Of course, since then, every journalist has been using that information to embellish their reports on the game, thanks to Kunle’s Library.
Also, while I was writing this article, I forgot the year that I covered the FA Cup final in Makurdi. I “Googled” the query, but no dice. So, I “Kunled” (pronounced “Kunlaid”) the query by sending an sms text message to Solaja. Minutes later, the answer came into my phone: “November 22, 1992: El-Kanemi 2-1 Stationery Stores.”
Like Lionel Messi, Kunle Solaja is simply priceless! Thank you, sir.
Next week: We resume the 2016 World Cup campaign, #SoarSuperEagles.
· I am not surprised, Mumini that Rohr was not “summoned” to defend players invitation. This is Nigeria, “Oyinbo na Oyinbo” (apology to Osaze). However, Rohr was “wrong” for not inviting home based players simply because of their inactivity. Early 90s, late Thompson Oliha and Uche Okafor played wonderful football for the Super Eagles and at some stages were clubless! – Omolaja Igbekele, Ikorodu, Lagos.
· Alhaji Alao, the late Stephen Keshi (MON) lost his job mainly because of his disagreement with the Technical Committee on player selection. They said he was proud and lacked respect for “his superiors”. NFF regards indigenous coaches as incompetent and inferior to white coaches. – Aminu I.B, Ilorin.
· Mumini, I’m not surprised that the technical committee is not probing Gernot Rohr’s team selection. He is doing well for now, so the committee is right to let him have his way. It may not be the same otherwise. Remember we are still a third world country and still need time to reach the level you are expecting. – Patrick Ogbu.
· You are very correct with your piece on NFF Technical Committee’s interference in time past. Please let the campaign on bringing back Stationery Stores start now. – Olayinka Oresile, Ifako Ijaiye, Lagos.
· Something tells me that this new generation of Super Eagles will fly again. With talents like Iwobi, Iheanacho and others and a good manager, Nigeria will crush any opposition. If we get things right, winning two consecutive U-17 World Cup is supposed to have laid the foundation for that. If Germany can produce World Cup winners from the 2009 European U-21 champions, why can’t we? Players like Nwakali and Osimhen should add flavor to our team in a few years. – Adelowo Q. A, Osun State.
· The NFF’s undemocratic Game of Exclusion is evil. How can 88 members want to be the only ones eligible for these positions in NFF in a country of 170 million and still counting? Their big brother CAF has a similar clause on its statutes. They MUST be stopped. – Uba Stephen Igwe.
· Amaju Pinnick’s NFF board never learnt any lesson from what befell Ibrahim Galadima and Sani Lulu while in office. In their desperation to keep others out from management of Nigeria football out of greed and selfishness, they would soon be bundled out of office. – Jide Abayomi, Igando. Lagos.
· Mumini, your column is as excellent as before. But your comments on Stationery Stores fell short. Please never forget players who through Stores made Peter Osugo great in Late 60s when the national team, Green Eagles, was composed of 90% Stores players. Sam Opone, Olumodeji, Mazelli, Oshode, Lawal and others.– Femi Awoseyi, ex Stores and Shooting Stars goalie, Lead City University, Ibadan.
· Hi Mumini, thanks for the return of Soccertalk. Please keep the page alive for as long as possible. Why do you always keep away from talking about your two beloved clubs (Liverpool and Shooting Stars). Please I want you to help make Shooting Stars great again. – Sanni-Shokoti. Sango.
· Dear Mumini Alao. I am a regular reader of not only your column but of Complete Sports since inception. I want to inquire why Mathematical Odegbami is not writing his analytical and thought-provoking, revealing essays on football again? – Deacon Babatunde Johnson.
*You can read Odegbami in Complete Sports on Sunday or go to www.completesportsnigeria.com.
· Hi, Mumini. I’ve bought and read almost all publications of CCL since the late 80s till this morning. Your gift of incisive analysis is worth celebration. More grace insha Allah! And it’s good to know you attended Iganmode Grammar School (my mum’s from Otta). – Tajudeen.
*Up Iganmode grams! Say hi to your mum, Tajudeen.
· Alhaji M. Alao, thanks for calling off your unannounced holiday. Now that you are back, you are also bringing back some of us to Complete Sports. We look forward to more unbiased sports analysis. – Adewumi Fatai, Alagbado.
You can visit my blog on http://soccertalknigeria.blogspot.com.ng/