Stakeholders lament import of crisis on Nigerian football

Amaju Pinnick
• Oneya: This is unbefitting of a country like Nigeria

While Nigerians are still watching to see the outcome of the current crisis in Nigerian football occasioned by Friday’s court ruling nullifying the election of the Amaju Pinnick-led board of the Nigerian football Federation (NFF), some stakeholders have already started lamenting the damage the current brouhaha has done on the country’s game.

Early last week, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and some members of his board were gushing with excitement following some ‘ground-breaking’ deals they had initiated for the federation.

Some of the deals, according to some board members, were such that would boost the federation’s resources, with the various national teams in line to get specific sponsors for their activities.

However, following Friday’s Jos High Court ruling, which brought confusion to the country’s football administration, some stakeholders say the NFF are at risk of losing some of they deals.

An NFF board member, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian yesterday that the crisis has highlighted the ‘so much insanity’ in Nigerian football and could jeopardise all the federation has done to achieve financial independence.

He said, “Recently, we succeeded in unbundling the sponsorship of the national teams and I can tell you that the federation was about to announce sponsors of its different products.

“For instance, we have secured a sponsor for the Super Eagles, another one for the Super Falcons and yet other ones for the youth teams. In the new dispensation, which we planned, no single organisation would have the sponsorship right for all the national teams or all our competitions.

“We were expected to finalise the fine details of these deals between this week and next week; but tell me, is it possible for us to go to these sponsors to talk about any deal now?’’ he queried.

He revealed that League Management Company (LMC) Chairman, Shehu Dikko, has also reached an agreement with some firms, who have been convinced to key into the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), adding that the latest crisis is capable of derailing the process.

“Now, the corporate world will see us as a bunch of irresponsible people, who cannot put their house in order.

“It is a vicious circle. We cannot get the money we need for our programmes from the federal government and we also cannot get money from the private sector because of some irresponsible people,” he lamented.

Also speaking on the crisis, former NFF President, General Dominic Oneya (rtd), a member of the CAF Organising Committee for the African Nations Championship, said it is “shameful” and “patently unbefitting of a strong footballing nation like Nigeria that has high global reckoning.”

According to Oneya, “I feel very sad, even uncomfortable, that this is happening in Nigeria at this time.

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