BY ADEBAYO OLODAN
Just as Nigerian football fans were yet to come to terms with the unceremonious exit of the Super Eagles from the 2018, a bigger disaster awaits the senior and other national teams following the leadership brawl that is rocking the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Barr. Chris Green who had hitherto been banned from football related matters by FIFA has suddenly found his way into the office of the NFF through a court order and the backing of the Federal Government or rather the Sports Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung at a time his counterpart, Amaju Marvin Pinnick is carrying out official duties and the Vice President of FIFA.
It is disheartening that such leadership tussle if not settled out of court and resolved on time, may cripple the beautiful game of football in the country.
Though there has been appreciable progress in our domestic league and our national teams under the leadership of Pinnick, especially in the area of sponsorship and players unrest, however there are still some complaints against the present President of not carrying the other members of the board along in terms of decision making and ‘monetary benefits.’
With the curtain expected to be drawn over the 2018 World Cup at the weekend, FIFA is likely to shifts its attention to the situation in Nigeria and except sanity is allowed to prevail on time, the football governing body may wield its stick on Nigeria.
May be we should ask Green and Pinnick why they have continued to bring the country to disrepute in the last four or five years. Could it be that they truly have genuine interest to grow our football or it’s all about the money involved and fame?
For Green, he could have waited for the expiration of the tenure of the present administration to contest the exalted position.
It is unlawful for him to lay claim to the leadership of the NFF while serving a ban and more so not when FIFA has made no secret that football matters should not be taken to court.
The ambition of Barrister Green is apparently not likely to produce a result, not at a time when Pinnick has turned the beautiful bride of FIFA. Not even the support of the Federal Government or the Sports Minister, Dalung could swing the tide in favour of Green. FIFA President, Giannini Infantino will undoubtedly listen and believe the words of Pinnick than President Muhammadu Buhari or any other Nigerian when it comes to issues relating to the nation’s football.
Trying to seize the leadership of the NFF at all cost may spell further doom for Green and his cohorts, especially if Pinnick decides to implicate them. However my greatest fear is that many of our budding talents who are hoping to further their careers abroad may never get the opportunity to do so should FIFA weigh in with a ban.
At the moment, the Flying Eagles are on the verge of qualifying for the U-20 African Cup of Nations scheduled to take place in Niger with a playoff against Mauritania at hand. The team may not realise such ambition should FIFA decide to take an action against us. Other teams that may suffer the ban are; the national U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, the Super Falcons and the Falconets.
Not to be spared from the punishment is Enyimba who are still campaigning in the CAF Confederations Cup.
Green and Pinnick should save Nigerians the embarrassment of going through this psychological torture over and over again. We thought we have outgrown such setback at this stage of our football. After the group stage exit of the Super Eagles in Russia, we should at the moment be devoting our resources towards putting up a solid team for the 2019 African Nations Cup. We cannot afford to take one step forward and another ten backward.
Football stakeholders in the country must rally round to speak some senses to Green and his sponsors to at least wait for another three months for the tenure of Pinnick to come to an end.
The way to secure the leadership of the NFF is not through litigation but the ballots.