By Godwin Bamigboye.
One question that bugs my mind frequently is the lack of Team Work among Football Administrators in Nigeria. I have always seen lone effort or clique interest which most times doesn’t translate to team or collective progress or achievement.
Football as a game is a team game that requires the effort of team members in order to achieve the desired results. Permit me to commend Nigeria’s representatives in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup.
Rivers United, Plateau United, Kwara United and Remo Stars. The Remo Stars were stars indeed but were not lucky to move to the next round. The United trio were able to qualify for the next stage. Congratulations to all of them.
Let’s move a step further. I have been asking myself why we are not getting it right in Football Administration in Nigeria. The much we have done so far is not sufficient for the status of our country. Can I be right if I say the Administrators are like “sheep without a shepherd”?
Could it be that it is because there is no umbrella body regulating the conduct of members? Among major actors in the game, there are bodies that regulate the conduct of members. They are the NUCLEUS of the game. They are the Players, the Coaches and the Referees. Others including the Administrators play their parts at one point or the other.
These actors have their umbrella body. I am talking about the Players Union (NANPF/ANPFU), Nigeria Football Coaches Association (NFCA) and the Nigeria (Football) Referees Association (NRA). The most effective of these three bodies is the Nigeria Football Referees Association. They have their standards and all referees queue into the rules and instructions, though with some measures of imperfection.
The Nigeria Football Coaches Association on their part are organized to a great measure but need to step up to get close to where the Referees Association looks like. I say so because a number of active Coaches are not members of their Associations and many carried away by ego. This is sad.
However, I see a vibrant Coaches Association evolving from the horizon and I believe that when the time comes, the Nigeria Football Coaches Association would have been upgraded to the level where every Coach will be eager to belong to the body. On the other hand, the Players Union has become a polarized entity by members allowing it to be so. We have the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers (NANPF) headed by ex-international Tijani Babangida and the other faction, All Nigeria Professional Footballers Union (ANPFU) headed by another ex-international Abdul Sule.
Let me add that the current Anambra State Football Association Chairman, Iloeyansi played a prominent role in the emergence of ANPFU. Without an iota of doubt, the Players Union may have succumbed to outside influence to the extent that an issue that requires internal settlement by them could not be handled and the result today is the existence of parallel bodies.
This is unfortunate. That is why my previous contribution was titled, *NFF Crisis, Deliberate, Unfortunate but Redeemable.* I am sorry to say and please forgive me. We have ex-internationals seeking to serve on the Board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) but their primary constituency is in shambles. Please forgive me. I learnt that some of them are not members of either of the parallel Players Union. Another sad development. I am not de-marketing anybody because the ex-internationals/professionals may be having the capacity to lead as they have copiously presented in their plan of action.
This should however serve as a clarion call to the ex-professionals to put their house in proper shape so that they could get the necessary support from their constituency. Having talked about these three major actors in the beautiful game, I will like us to look at those who administer the game. Let it be clear to us that no matter how good the three major actors of the game may be, those who administer the game at various levels play significant roles in their performance.
These are Administrators or Managers or whatever name you want to give them. They could be called President, Chairman, Sporting Director, Technical Director, General Manager, Secretary, Team Manager, etc. What’s your take about this group? It is a complex group with complex problems. It has no umbrella body to guide them to observe certain code of ethics or conduct. I guess you know that the Town Unions and indeed other organized tribal, cultural and social organizations have their rules.
In the case of Administrators of the game, somebody can emerge from no experience in Football Administration to become Chairman of a Premier League Club because he played a role in the emergence of the Governor of his or her State. I am sorry because we are at the crossroads where we need to salvage Football.
The absence of an umbrella body of Football Administrators has made the Football arena look like a game reserve where the only RULE available is the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. No matter how intelligent or articulate you may be, without the financial strength or political connection, you will be sidelined by some gullible kingmakers for the “fittest” of all. This situation is Deliberate, Unfortunate but Redeemable.
Looking at the way out of our never ending crises in Football in Nigeria with its consequences on Nigeria and Nigerians particularly the youths of this country, I, Godwin Bamigboye, after consultation with a few friends initiated the Association of Football Administrators in Nigeria (AFAN). I am there in a temporary capacity as Interim National Coordinator and I have pledged to QUIT for ordinary/advisory membership as soon as it stabilizes. It is my wish that all Football Administrators will embrace this vision so that we indeed begin the real journey to our Football Eldorado.
I expect ex-Presidents/Chairmen of NFF/NFA to come out and embrace this body where they will make up the Advisory Council to be known as Forum of former Presidents of NFF/NFA. With this arrangement, we hope to see Galadima, Maigari, Sanni Lulu and others meeting to forge the way forward for the interest/growth/development of Football in Nigeria.
Kudos to the good number of Football Administrators on the whatsapp platform and I believe that together we shall work to ensure that the best persons emerge as leaders of Football at all levels in Nigeria.