Re: NFF, What Next Now?
Posted: Dec 15, 2011
LAST WEEK, I requested Soccertalk readers to join me in making suggestions to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on the new way forward for Nigerian football following our recent setbacks.
Most respondents are simply upset with the NFF hierachy and are sceptical about President Aminu Maigari’s depth of knowledge and ability to articulate an action plan that would set Nigerian football on the path to recovery.
On my part, I have been disappointed so far by the total lack of action from the NFF as though everything was normal with our state of affairs. I have often said here that the NFF were not obliged to accept suggestions made by the public or by the media. But they definitely are obliged to come up with their own action plan if they thought the public/media opinion was unrealistic. Presently, the NFF have not reacted to suggestions from the media, yet they are not forthcoming with any ideas of their own. This is totally unacceptable.
Last week, I heard Paul Bassey, a member of the NFF technical committee, suggesting on a radio programme, Sports Planet, that something like a talk shop was needed to articulate and collate ideas to draw up an action plan. Later, I heard chairman of the committee, Chris Green, talking about the hiring of a technical director. In recent days, Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has been talking about opening a camp for home-based players. Other NFF officials have been talking as well.
So soon, we are back to our old ways of doing things haphazardly, without any definite plans, no time-lines and no coordination. The NFF want to give an impression that they’re working hard but sorry, I’m not impressed unless I see a well-articulated, documented plan on where all the ‘hard work” is supposed to lead us to.
Can’t Paul Bassey go and convince Maigari on the need for this action plan which he (Bassey) has also spoken about? Oga Paul, I’m waiting to hear from you. Nigerian soccer fans are waiting, too. Meanwhile, let’s take some of the feedback that I received...
The Way Forward
OGA MUMINI, if the fellows in the NFF don't listen to your suggestions, I wonder what they will listen to. However, as an ordinary football enthusiast and a lover of Nigerian football, I submit below my suggestions for the way forward. Some of them you will be familiar with.
For football to develop in Nigeria, we need simply to go back to the basics…
1. Reintroduction or revamping of the inter-house sports in primary and secondary schools.
2. Reintroduction or revamping of Headmasters and Principals Cup at local governments level.
3. Reintroduction of Governors Cup at the states level.
4. Revamping of NUGA, NIPOGA and other tertiary institutions competitions.
5. National Sports Festivals should be properly monitored by a special department in the various sport associations including football in order to have a database of up-and-coming and potential talents, from where age-grade competition players should be selected.
The need for legislation and regulation:
1. There should be a body that regulates the standard of football academies. I think that there should be a minimum standard for facilities (pitch and kits), for coaching staff and for management staff.
Also, the possibility of a designed curriculum could be explored to ensure standardization.
2. Privatization of our professional football clubs such that government shareholding is not more than 25% , if not 10% (in line with recent prudential guidelines)
3. The clubs should have their own academies/ feeder teams or be associated with a recognized academy.
Sport Ministry / NFF:
1. For every sport association there should a department (call it the ‘scouting department’) that will be responsible for identifying and collation of data on up-and-coming young talents. The data should be clear with set criteria for players’ rating for goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders (defensive and offensive), wingers and strikers.
2. There should be clear transfer policies for player agents on the management of players from one club to another and abroad. Set age limits and/or minimum number of matches to be played locally before players can be transferred abroad.
3. Develop a football culture/philosophy. By this I mean the kind of football we wish to play and be known for. Is it pure flair? Is it the physical approach or flair combined with physical and wing play, etcetra. This will act as a guide in the choice of coaches and players.
4. Send coaches and technical staff on attachment to foreign clubs for between two to three months on-the-job training to gain experience on how the game is run in those clubs.
5. Encourage local coaches to take coaching certification and education seriously.
1. Nigeria Premier League stadiums should be leased to clubsides initially for a minimum period of 10 to 20 years with a possible moratorium period of two to five years and with the option of buying it or building their own after.
2. Scouted players should be camped regularly for blending and cohesion.
3. Gradual reduction of funding from government especially to the NFF to encourage them to source for sponsorship and to put the monies from CAF and FIFA into proper use. This will also discourage politicians who want to be in the NFF only with the intentions of feathering their nest.
4. Where possible for future elections into the NFF executive board/management, contestants should subject themselves to live televised debates where they will be questioned on their abilities, knowledge of the game and their programs.
5. The proposed Technical Director when appointed should be someone who is passionate about the development of the game, one who is ready to reside and work in the country. He should be supported by staff or technical committee members who can collate and analyze players’ data, on their strengths, on what they bring into a particular team, their preferred positions, the distance they cover during matches, duels won, shots on target, completed passes, etcetra. – Ovo, Soccertalk forum, Dec 08, 2011.
House Committee on Sports
Editor, you said much in your article. But do you sincerely believe that the NFF can give us a road map telling us how they intend to develop football in Nigeria utilizing this 'no tournament at all' period? No, I don’t think so.
Coincidentally, the House of Representatives Committee on Sports announced (after the Olympic football elimination) that it is only the players and coaches that failed Nigeria, not the NFF. Can you imagine that?!! All the national teams, male ♀ junior, under-20, Olympic, SENIOR, beach, plus the clubs in the CAF Champions League, CAF Cup and WAFU failed; yet the lawmakers are saying NFF has no blame. How then will football develop? You see what we are crying about? – Chrisesse, Soccertalk forum, Dec 08, 2011.
* We know where some of the House of Reps Committee on Sports members are coming from. After enjoying a jolly-ride trip to Morocco for the African Under-23 Championship and pocketing thousands of dollars in estacodes, it is not surprising that they will exonorate Maigari and company from any blame on the ills of our football.
I think we should just ignore the House of Reps members and keep mounting pressure on Maigari and company who are the ones directly responsible for our football. The Reps think we don’t know what is going on, but we do!
THE present NFF has killed football in Nigeria, period! And Nigerians are watching them do it. This is a tragedy. – Oludare Olorunsola. 0802833xxxx.
I THINK it is time to revisit the “Dream Team” tag on our Olympic team. For me, we’ve only had four dream teams.1. 1980 Green Eagles. 2. 1985 Golden Eaglets. 3. 1994 Super Eagles. 4. Atlanta 1996 Olympic – Etinusa Benin.
ALHAJI Aminu Maigari and his entire NFF executive committee members should resign en bloc. They have failed Nigerians. – T. Edema, Warri.
lI HAVE a simple question that has been agitating my mind: Is the NFF presidency zoned to Northern Nigeria for life? How come our past three NFF presidents are from the north? Our football fortunes will continue to nosedive until we pick our administrators on merit only. – Nnanna, 0806072xxxx
* To answer your question, the NFF presidency is not zoned to the north. Maigari’s predecessor, Alhaji Sani Lulu, is actually from the Middle Belt. However, “political balancing” and selfish interest, rather than merit, are often the determinant factors at NFF elections. That is what needs to change.
LET’S CALL a summit on the way forward for Nigerian football. Let’s be practical in our approach and stop these ancient ways of administering football. We are tired of politicians masquerading as technocrats. – Anayo Mbama, Abule-Egba, Lagos.
WHO CARES if Nigerian football improves? Most Nigerian youths and adults are already enjoying the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, etcetra. We don’t care about Nigerian football anymore! – 0802361xxxx
* I understand your frustration, reader, but you’re wrong. Most Nigerians enjoy European football but they still do care about Nigerian football.
WHERE does Chief Adegboye Onigbinde stand in all of this? He is a member of the NFF technical committee, but he joins in criticising the NFF all the time as if he’s not part of them? Where exactly does he stand? – 0805063xxxx
*To put it mildly, Chief Onigbinde is obviously in a dilemma.
DEAR Mumini. Is it the NFF that couldn’t ensure that national team players don’t have any problems with their travel documents that would give us a SMART road map to put our football back on track? You must be joking. Not this NFF – Niyi Akinbode.
BIG BROTHER, what you are requesting from Maigari is not possible! You are asking him to give you a road map when you know that he lacks ideas on how to move our football forward. What we need at the NFF now is an expert mind, a real technorat. Maigari is not the man. – Idah Emmanuel Idah, Abuja.
* If Maigari is reading this, please prove Emmanuel, Akinbode and others like them, wrong by giving us that plan to work with.
Sorry For Real Madrid
FOLLOWING last weekend’s latest 3-1 thrashing at the hands of their arch rivals Barcelona, it is now settled beyond all reasonable doubts that this expensively assembled generation of Real Madrid FC are no match for Pep Guardiola’s football legends.
Riding on a 10-match unbeaten run, playing in front of their fans at Santiago Bernabeu and facing a Barcelona team that had been struggling away from home all season, the smart money was on Real to finally beat Barca and underline their Spanish title credentials. They started well enough when Karim Benzema netted after just 24 seconds. But the moment Barca’s ball-passing orchestra led by Xavi Hernandez settled down to business, they simply blew Real away with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas.
It was all so reminiscent of Barca’s 3-1 demonition of Manchester United in the Champions League Final at Wembley last summer. And if we consider how Barca also outclassed AC Milan 3-2 last month in a Champions League group stage showdown at the San Siro, we have enough proof that Barca are better than all the best teams in Europe at present. All the big teams that have ventured to face Barca toe-to-toe have come out beaten and bloodied by the pass-masters.
Despite Real’s latest beating, however, I believe they could still win La Liga this season ahead of Barcelona. Unlike the big teams who come out to play against Barca probably because of pride, thus leaving room for Lionel Messi to do damage, smaller teams in the Spanish League even on home ground are not ashamed to put 10 men behind the ball, and make life extremely difficult for the ‘Little Devil.”
That is why Barcelona have not scored too many goals away from home this season.
Real, on the other hand, have been simply unstoppable for the smaller teams because of the speed and explosion of Christiano Ronaldo’s attacking runs. If that situation persists, I see Barcelona probably completing a double over Real later in the season, yet losing the title on account of points dropped against the smaller teams.
I have supported Barcelona (Spain) alongside Liverpool (England), AC Milan (Italy), Flamengo (Brazil) and Shooting Stars (Nigeria) since my growing up years. But right now, I won’t mind Real winning the Spanish title just for this season out of pity for Jose Mourinho and his lads. It’s just their bad luck to have come around at a time that Barcelona are playing the best football ever seen by mankind.
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