NFF Leadership Crisis: The True Losers Are…By Noble Peters
As the cloud gathers for the imminent ban of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from further participation in all international football competitions by the world football governing body, Federation of International Football Federation (FIFA), there are a whole gamut of stakeholders who will suffer the most except the Federal Government acts fast to toe the part of honour.
In plain language, the Nigerian government must immediately wade into the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) lingering leadership tussle between Amaju Melvin Pinnick and Ambassador Christopher Giwa dating back to 2014. Both men have been quarrelling over the NFF Presidency.
And without going into the merits and demerits of the claim and counter claims by both men, every true lover of football and Nigerian Football players, coaches, referees, medics, administrators and other stakeholders should be very worried about the looming worldwide ban which FIFA President, Gianni Infantino has warned will be imposed on Nigeria if the logjam persists.
The FIFA boss said this at a world Press Conference in Moscow, Russia on Friday after he was asked about the crisis in the NFF by a Nigerian reporter covering the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
For those who know FIFA, Infantino’s warning should not be dismissed as a ranting of an ant as some people who have nothing to lose would want us to belive.
However, for the doubting Thomas if the logjam is not resolved within days as demanded by FIFA then the first casualties will be the Flying Eagles who are already in Mauritania for the first leg of the African U-20 Youth Championship qualifier match. The team will be stopped from going further in the competition.
The next team to be kicked out of next month FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final in France are the Falconets. The girls and coaches who have been in camp for the past three months will not travel to France after all.
Then Five-time World Champions the Golden Eaglets also in the camp for two months now will not participate in the forthcoming African U-17 Championship billed for Ghana in two months.
Worst still, the senior national team Super Eagles will not play the AFCON qualifier matches coming up from September.
Aside the national teams Enyimba International FC will be thrown out of the CAF Confederation Cup match slated for Port Harcourt next week. Also, Nigerian clubs will not be eligible to enter for CAF competitions next season.
Furthermore, many other stakeholders will also suffer adversely. They include those who earn their living off football- administrators at the grassroots, states and national levels will be affected in one way or another.
Equipments providers, hoteliers, food vendors, petty traders and those who produce and market football merchandise
Finally, fans will denied the opportunity of watching their stars rob shoulders with their counterparts from other countries while the vibrant Nigerian sports media will be the worst hit because many reporters will be denied the opportunities to follow the game both locallyand internationally.
The most sensible thing for the gladiators to do now if truly they are fighting to improve the game is to get down from their high horses to resolve this imbroglio before the Nigeria becomes a pariah amongst other nations.
After all NFF General Elections are less than two months now. Let good reason prevail.