Allow experts to run football clubs, says Onigbinde

Odion Ighalo (centre), who scored a hat-trick when the Super Eagles beat Libya 4-0 in Uyo last week, scored two more yesterday as Nigeria won the reverse fixture in Sfax, Tunisia… PHOTO: AFP

Former coach of Super Eagles, Adegboye Onigbide, has blamed those he described as ‘apprentice administrators’ for the loss of two spots in the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) championships, saying these ‘novices’ running the Nigeria Football Professional League (NPFL) clubs are administrators with little or no knowledge of the game.

CAF recently reduced the number of spots for Nigeria’s clubs in the continental championships from four to two due to their abysmal performance in the 2017/2018 season.

Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers are the only clubs that will hoist the nation’s flag at both the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup competitions, which the nation had enjoyed over the years.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Onigbinde said as long as the running of clubs are left in the hands of party loyalists and not technocrats, there would continue to be a dip in the country’s club football, adding those who understand the game should be given opportunity to offer themselves for election into the boards of these clubs.

“By FIFA’s regulation, we don’t have one football club in the country. By Article 19 of the world governing body’s status, any football body, which also includes club sides, must have a democratically elected board. But what we have here are mere parastatals of states’ government loyalists, who lack the knowledge on football administration.

“Arsenal FC former coach, Arsene Wenger, was able to stay long at the club because he spent time developing players, while other spent money lavishly on already made stars. And the result is there for anyone to see during his time at the club. What our clubs also need to do is to develop players rather than concentrate on competitions because overtime we will sure get there.

“Between 1983 and 1985, I did not have a single foreign based player in the national team. And when I was going to the World Cup in 2002, I started with the home-based players. The truth is that, now there is nothing on ground to assess the level of our development in club football. And even when we are assessing, there is no programme on ground to assess our level of performance. Let’s concentrate on developing these players first before putting them under pressure during competitions,” he stated.

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