Why Nigerian Football Is in Deep Crisis – Lumumba

| February 3, 2013 | 0 Comments

Following the myriad of problems which have bedeviled Nigerian football in recent times, former NFF presidential aspirant, Hon Lumumba Dah Adeh has said the country’s football will remain in crisis because of lack of proper legal framework to help regulate the sport. He also spoke on Super Eagles’ chances in the 2013 AFCON in South Africa. Excerpts:

As a football administrator and sports enthusiast, what is your assessment of Nigerian football in the year 2012?

I have recently followed in the media a wave of celebration and some efforts to project certain achievements by the football authorities in Nigeria. Even though they are glorifying, I still have my reservations as to how we arrived there and how we can possibly sustain such achievements that are being glorified. And the glory being referred to is in the area of Nigeria’s national teams qualifying for global tournaments. I share in the joy more out of patriotism than the belief that we are getting it right because there doesn’t seem to be any indicators that we are doing things differently in the sense that for us to do things differently, we must plan, we must have a programme. For now, I have not seen that and I stand to be correct. However, where there is a plan or a programme it cannot be hidden. When we talk about certain inadequacies and failures as they are normally highlighted, it is to enable the authorities to sit up, make amends and rise up to their responsibilities.

What aspect of Nigerian football do you think should be given priority attention in the year 2013?

Every aspect of our game but the failure of our senior women national team, the Super Falcons as painful as it is, seems to have been covered and papered over by those who should have taken urgent steps to make amends. By the mere fact that the national team coach Kadiri Ikhana has resigned, everybody now keeps sealed lips believing that that has solved the problem. But like I said before, it goes beyond asking the coach to resign or he voluntarily resigning because it is a very very big issue that deserves a critical look not only by the authorities but by all stakeholders. How did Nigeria come to the point where as giant of female football, suddenly begin to lose it?. We for a very long time, held to the top spot of female football in Africa, dominating and monopolizing it. But gradually we began to lose it. We did not bother to check. While other nations who we had humiliated were planning and gradually marching up to us, we were coming down to them. Everybody knows that there is a very obvious decline in the female league in Nigeria and that is the only source of materials the coaches need for the Falcons or Falconets as it were. So if the league is sick, we must get it back to life so that we can have the materials that any coach can use. So I think for the year 2013, if only we are able to look at that area and begin to address it, it will be a thing of tremendous help to Nigerian football. If the authorities can resurrect female football, we can do even better than before. As it is now, it is not anywhere close to where it was some ten years ago. That is one area that I want them to more critically look at. So it is not much more about we have won that and have qualified for that. The one that we have lost what we are we doing to stem the tide because if we fail to address the issues of female league, it will also affect us in the men football league. Moreover, as you may be aware, in recent years, even the men league has not fared better. And some of the issues affecting the league and football generally are issues that will continue to be there unless something is done.

Could you substantiate on some of the issues which you believe are militating against the development of Nigerian football?

I have said it before and I will say it again. There is no legal framework on which Nigerian football stands. Unless we address this critical issue, crisis will continue to come to Nigerian football because the loopholes are so many, so many that anybody can rise up any day and take advantage of them. Even in the subsisting act of parliament or if you like decree 101, there are still so many loopholes that anybody can do anything and get away with it. Unless we synchronize and harmonize these things, properly enact a law that will regulate Nigerian football from NSC, to NFF to NPL and clearly define the roles of each and everyone one of them, we shall remain in crisis. You see there are people who have entrenched interests and so each minister who comes is hijacked by the caucus. It is their interest they sell to him. Unfortunately for us, most of the sports ministers appointed hardly have knowledge or understanding of the setting of the Nigerian football sector. So it is what they say to him that he takes and it is usually their interest that they promote. In his innocence, the minister believes that it is genuine advice that is being given to him. He therefore accepts it and they capitalize on the loopholes to have their ways. Unless there is an enabling law to regulate our actions, Nigerian football will continue to suffer crisis.

The 2013 AFCON is around the corner. How do you fancy the chances of the Super Eagles at the biennial championship?

Well, I must say as far as Africa is concerned, the name the Super Eagles is a world better any day. Whether you believe there are still minnows or not, Super Eagles is a name that even the biggest in the league of African football feel intimidated by the name and in football that is already a head start. I also acknowledge that there is a rebuilding process. Rebuilding is not necessarily by way of changing players but I think even in mentality. From what I have gathered, Keshi is working hard to change the mentality of Nigerian players which is very very good. We may not have the type of players we had before in terms of their ratings in their various clubs or being in the biggest clubs but I see a collection of good players that if given the opportunity, and getting the right start, can do well in the Nations Cup. None of the teams can pose a very serious threat to Nigeria but if we start poorly, we may not get it right. But I see a situation where the Super Eagles will develop, grow in confidence and play better as the competition progresses. If we are able to cross the group stage, I see Eagles going all the way.

Culled from :Here

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