NFF Pioneers Another Project.. ‘The NFF Awards’

The Nigeria Football Federation has disclosed plans for the  first ever awards ceremony organized by it to honor and reward excellence in the Nigerian game.

Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi the first NFF Vice President who is chairman of the project, said that the Federation decided time was ripe for ‘The NFF Awards’ as the stock of Nigerian Football is on the upward trajectory. He told dignitaries and media in Lagos on Tuesday.

“We decided it was the right time to begin a project to recognize and reward excellence in Nigerian Football and fortunately, we found a worthy partner in Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, and with a Chief Executive (Governor Akinwunmi Ambode) who is a lover of excellence.

“The NFF Awards will be an annual event. The inaugural edition will hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Monday, 19thFebruary 2018, and will be graced by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF President Ahmad and at least 20 FA Presidents who will be here for the FIFA Executive Football Summit also taking place in Lagos the following day.

“We have an opportunity to showcase Lagos State not only around the Awards, but also at the FIFA EFS meeting for which the State is also partnering the NFF.”

Akinwunmi disclosed that a screening committee that will have integrity, transparency and fairness as its watchwords would be empanelled in a few days, and that while some of the awards will be decided by the screening committee, others would be determined by voters online while the special awards would be the prerogative of the Federation.

He also announced that SuperSport and Africa Independent Television have teamed up with the NFF as broadcast partners of the event, and will take the event live as from 7pm on the evening.

Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh praised the NFF for laudable projects the Federation has been undertaking recently and pledged that Lagos State will continue to support worthwhile endeavor

“The Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Akinwunmi Ambode is determined to make Lagos State not just a hub of sports activities and events, but to prove that sports, tourism and entertainment can intermingle brilliantly to boost the economy of any society.

“Posterity will be kind to the present NFF for the laudable projects they have been involved with and the lofty moves that they have been making to take Nigerian Football to exciting heights.”

Foremost journalist and diarist, Kayode Tijani, offered to provide the NFF with an archive that would greatly boost the project.

Organizers observed a one –minute silence in honour of former Nigeria captain and coach Stephen Keshi (of blessed memory), who would have been 56 on Tuesday, with Akinwunmi noting that it was regrettable “such a great player and coach was never accorded deserved recognition at an Awards ceremony organized by the NFF.”

Also present at the press conference were Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Ms Aisha Falode and Mr. Chidi Ofo Ok

NFF Confirms Poland Friendly For Eagles

The Nigeria Football Federation has granted Gernot Rohr’s request to lead the Super Eagles against Poland in a friendly affair.

Both teams are searching for warm-up encounters ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Poland, who are housed in Group H alongside Japan, Colombia and Senegal, confirmed on December 11 the White and Reds manager Adam Nawałka had agreed to lead the Eastern European nation against the Eagles on March 23.

Poland open their Russia 2018 campaign against the Lions of Teranga in Moscow on June 19, and Nawalka believes playing a strong side like Nigeria would help him prepare his team to match the physical style of play of the Senegalese.

Nigeria are drawn in Group D alongside Croatia, South American powerhouse Argentina and tournament’s dark horses Iceland.

The Eagles, who will be making their sixth World Cup appearance in Russia this year, are looking to win their first game against Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 16, and Nigeria coach Rohr sees a friendly against Poland as good contest to prepare for the Croats, who have a similar playing style to the Polish.

And the NFF, who had refused to confirm or deny that Poland had approached Nigeria for a friendly after it was leaked to early in December by Rohr, revealed on Sunday the game would be played in Warsaw on March 23.

The federation tacitly confirmed reported friendly fixtures against Egypt in May and England at Wembley in June.

“The World Cup is the big one next year and I believe we are going to be very ready when the tournament kicks off,” the NFF president Amaju Pinnick was quoted as saying on the

“We have lined up four friendly matches starting with the game with Poland in Warsaw on March 23. There will be other matches on March 27, May 28 (in Nigeria) and June 2.”

Pinnick expressed the federation’s satisfaction with on-field and off-field results for Nigerian football last year, believing the country would win more honours this year.

He said, “Largely, it was an excellent year, on and off the field. The bookmakers, analysts and football fans all over the world thought we were going to find it difficult in our World Cup qualifying group, but we made it to Russia with a match to spare. Now, we have already kick-started the preparations to the finals with a landmark agreement with the team on funds and renewal of the coach’s contract to keep him fully focused on the job.

“Like the World Cup, qualification for the CHAN was also down to hard work and focus. We are ready to work even harder and focus much more ardently on our objectives in the year 2018, because we want to win the CHAN and achieve our best-ever outing at the World Cup.”

NFF Reveals Why Abuja Stadium Was Abandoned

The Nigeria Football Federation has revealed its reason for abandoning the Abuja National Stadium.

NFF Secretary-General Mohammed Sanusi told the News Agency of Nigeria that the national stadium currently lacks the necessary facilities for the teams to play conveniently.

However, he said some states had indicated their interest in hosting the national teams.

According to reports women’s national teams have taken refuge at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, while the Super Eagles have been playing their matches at the Uyo Stadium.

Sanusi said, “Some of these states indicated their interest in hosting the teams and that is why we went there. The Abuja National Stadium is under renovation and so there is no facility for us to play our matches here.

“We have our technical centre here, but there are no dressing rooms. So we are making efforts to see if the dressing rooms can be provided.”

The secretary added that the football house was planning to take the matches of the teams across the country, so that Nigerians can watch their national teams play live.


Basketball And Football – In The Woods By Segun Odegbami

There have been two very significant developments in Nigerian sports this past week. The first is that November 30, 2017 came and went and the world did not end! The second is that Nigeria escaped by a hair’s breadth what would have definitely become the worst possible scandal in the country’s football history. Let us take a look at the first situation.

The impression was given that if nothing were done by November 30 to resolve the crisis in the basketball federation in favour of the position of the National Sports Commission and the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC) that openly supported one faction of the two feuding boards of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) the country would be banned from international basketball.

So, from August to November 30, everyone was walking on tinder wood. The government-supported faction took control of the country’s basketball and acted as if the three months would not come to an end. Somehow they acted as if they would continue to rule even if the issues that created the crisis were not resolved because, typically, no one takes on government and wins.

But not so this time. The matter was not resolved. The other faction that was more in control of the major stakeholders (the clubs), determined to follow the matter through to a logical and legal conclusion based on the fundamental principle that sports federations are independent private bodies that must not be directly influenced by third parties (including government), stood their ground and waited patiently.The NOC, saddled by FIBA with the responsibility to intervene and resolve the matter, could not do so successfully because they had been complicit in the matter from the start and could not now become neutral arbiters. What followed was ‘the silence of the graveyard’. A very small matter became a monster.

This week FIBA returned in the form of a letter to the federation. The international body would send a three-man delegation to the country to conduct their own findings and report back to it by March 10, 2018. The initial administrative mandate was extended.The facts of the matter have been so simple and straightforward that I am amazed an entire NOC, custodians of the ethics of sports, and a body whose mantra is conflict resolution and promotion of peace could not observe the simple fair play rule and resolve the matter amicably.

The reason for their failure is simple: They took sides and got involved in the internal affair of a federation, an anathema to the Olympic charter. Now, the matter has been taken off the hands of Nigeria. It will be determined by FIBA and everyone would have to face the reality that the matter had been very simple all the time.
The two elections were pronounced flawed. New elections will be conducted using new guidelines that will be extracted from a constitution of the federation that shall be ratified by the general assembly of basketball stakeholders. It will not be the Ministry’s or NOC’s constitution.

A neutral person or institution shall supervise the new election with everybody eligible to contest freely and fairly participating without government’s direct interference.A new board leadership will emerge and this entire crisis will be over. This is what the NOC should have done very easily, but could not do for the reasons I have stated earlier.

Mark my words; by March 10, 2018 the present crisis shall ‘have a head’ as Nigerians would say when a seemingly knotty issue becomes very clear. The good thing about this whole development in basketball is its eventual impact on all other sports federations when this matter is finally settled.It will clear the air on several knotty issues, including the level of government involvement in the administration of federations, and the consequence of government’s direct involvement in the internal affairs of federations particularly where government funds international competitions!So, February is just around the corner. The country can afford to wait two more months for all this to be cleared, finally.

The NFF Near Miss
The second matter is a more serious one. Let me take us back a few decades. Nigeria did not go to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as a result of one slip, a player attempting to clear the ball with his head but, instead, the ball grazed the side of his head and was deflected away from his own goalkeeper into his own goal. 40 years after that slip Godwin Odiye’s name is now a synonym for a person that prevents his country from going to the World Cup!

Seven years ago, in South Africa, the Eagles needed a victory to get to the second round of the 2010 World Cup. There was only one meter between him and a yawning goal (the goalkeeper was already sprawling helplessly on the ground), when the ball was passed to him right in the middle of the goal. It was going to be the easiest goal ever scored and would have taken Nigeria to the second round. Then the unthinkable happened. Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s shin mis-hit the ball and it went back across the face of goal and out of play for what is considered one of the worst misses of the World Cup.

With that singular miss, Nigeria did not qualify for the second round. The price was Yakubu’s last match for the country. ‘Little’ things produce giant effects for good or for bad.Now this.

With one match to the end of the World Cup qualifying matches, Nigeria had qualified for the World Cup already. Then the Super Eagles went on to play their last match with an ineligible player who already had two yellow cards from previous matches. It was a simple rule.

FIFA came calling last week. Nigeria would forfeit the entire match and forfeit the three points for the match. Nigeria must be the luckiest country in the world going to the 2018 World Cup. At any other time in the history of Nigeria and qualifying for the World Cup, nail-biting experiences up till the last matches, Nigeria would have waved good-bye to their qualification!

The entire country would by now be wailing, livelihoods would have been lost, some lives may be lost, the economy would be badly hit, whole businesses that depend on this four yearly qualification ritual to sustain them, and the millions of Nigerians they would impact, would also have been lost. The country would have been put to global shame and careers would have been truncated that would affect generations to come.All of that as a result of a ‘little sin’, a moment of administrative laxity, ignorance, distraction or carelessness.

‘Little’ incidents had happened in the past with devastating effect on the country and repercussions for the football leadership. Somebody once forgot to carry the playing shorts of the team to a match.The match was held up for a long time and the federation had to improvise by cutting tracksuit bottoms to shorts.On two other occasions the country was banned from participation in grade age competitions because officials carelessly recorded different ages for the same players in competitions.There are a few other examples of such shameful laxities.

Whilst one is not advocating for any drastic action be taken against the leadership of the NFF, but for the association to give itself two weeks to investigate itself, is applying kid gloves to a very serious matter. Would these investigations have been called, and would the NFF have granted itself two weeks of a break had Nigeria suffered disqualification and failed to make the World Cup?

The matter should be treated as if Nigeria had missed going to the World Cup. It is as serious as that. That way it will be clear that the leadership is not looking for scapegoats to take the can for the failure of an entire federation!

In sports it is the ‘little’ things, the micro-seconds, the millimetres, the split seconds, the momentary state of mind, the slight distraction, the close shaves, the near misses, the instinctive actions, that make the ‘big’ difference between winning and losing matches, and between qualifying and not qualifying for a major competition.

Nigeria could very easily have been stranded now on the tarmac of qualification as a result of one person’s dereliction of duty, lack of proper supervision, ignorance, inexperience, or just a distraction from the little details.This is where an intervention should have happened at a higher level. Instead the silence from the government, from the National Sports Commission, has been deafening!

Nigeria’s Escape From World Cup Disaster Emmanuel Okogba

But for the unassailable fourteen-point dominant lead Nigeria stamped on the earlier touted “zone of death”, the Group B of Africa’s World Cup qualification efforts, the nation could have been thrown into deep mourning after it was sanctioned by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

FIFA had announced the deduction of three points from our fourteen points and awarded them to Algeria over the fielding of an ineligible player, Shehu Abdullahi, in the final leg of the qualification for the tournament which will hold in Russia in 2018. Abdullahi was given a one-match ban which he had not served when he was drafted to play in the second leg of Nigeria’s away tie against Algeria.

FIFA ruled as follows: “The Nigeria Football Federation is liable for having breached Article.55 paragraph.1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and article 8 of the 2018 Regulations of the FIFA World Cup Russia. “The match played within the frame of the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia between Algeria and Nigeria on 10 November 2017 is declared to be lost by forfeit by Nigeria (3-0).”

Nigeria was also fined 6,000 Swiss Francs or N2.2 million. Luckily and happily, the deduction did not affect our standing at the top of the log as Nigeria had already qualified for the tournament before the Algeria match.

This kind of blunder which escaped the attention of the coaches led by Gernot Rohr and also the Technical Department of the Nigerian Football Federal (NFF) is as unconscionable as it is potentially dangerous. If the country had had a narrow lead, its qualification could have been nullified. The euphoria that is still the toast of our football circles would have been cut short. It would have been a massive shocker in the soccer world where Nigeria has established a foothold as a major force from the African continent.

Such a turn of events could have sparked off riots leading to the destruction of lives and property in view of the deep love Nigerians have for football which stands as perhaps the only unifying factor for the citizenry. The mistake of a few unconscionable officials could have reversed the thrill of our most commanding world cup qualification in history.

Our football house has remained a sorry symbol of the general incompetence and unwholesomeness of our public institutions, which is why the country is so poorly governed. The NFF has been severally sanctioned by FIFA for age cheating, bribery, corruption and other misdemeanours.

We call on the football governing body to probe and punish those responsible for the blunder. It should wake up from its slumber, clean up its acts and give Nigerians the quality football administration they deserve.

NFF To Increase Gernot Rohr’s Salary

The Nigeria Football Federation has given Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr a pay rise in the new contract offer made to the coach who guided Nigeria through a seamless World Cup qualification campaign.

The German-born Rohr has already signed the contract that will see him in charge of the Super Eagles beyond 2019. “We offered him a new contract which he has accepted,” NFF president Amaju Pinnick said.

“They are going about the documentation now. His contract expires after the World Cup but we have offered him another two years with a slight pay increase. “He has radiated being that father figure for the team and has made the players understand that if “I lead well, you guys will follow well”.

The team spirit is what has been counting for us on the field and off the field. “He has been able to instil in the boys a sense of patriotism, a sense of discipline, and he’s been able to show them that if you are not disciplined then you cannot make an impact. “Gernot has been exceptional as a coach.”

Pinnick also paid tribute to Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi. “Mikel Obi has been super,” added Pinnick. “He has carried the team so well and they believe in him.” “We are very happy with what we have been able to mould together because it is very rare in Nigeria.

In the past, you’ve had several leaders in the Super Eagles but now we have just one Super Eagles. “The team spirit is what has been counting for us on the field and off the field.”

Why We Extended Rohr’s Contract – Pinnick

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, has explained that the NFF offered Gernot Rohr a fresh two years contract to ensure there are no distraction around Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup preparation and participation.

Rohr, the Super Eagles Franco-German tactician, signed by the NFF in August 2016 has met the first milestone of his contract, which is qualifying the Super Eagles for a sixth FIFA World Cup finals.

He said, “We have decided to confront head-on any possible area of conflict or controversy, and fully resolve each and every possible friction point well ahead of the competition.

“After signing the agreement on payment to the team from expected FIFA income, the next stage was to take care of the Technical Adviser. He has done very well and does not need to go into the World Cup uncertain of his future,” stated Pinnick.

The 64 –year old Rohr, a former Germany defender, flaunts a sterling record with the Super Eagles, winning seven of 12 matches and drawing four in his 15 months in charge so far. His only loss was the 0-2 reverse to South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in a 2019 AFCON qualifier in Uyo in June 2017.

Under him, the Eagles have beaten Tanzania, Zambia (twice), Algeria, Togo, Cameroon and two –time world champions Argentina, and drawn with Senegal, Corsica, Cameroon and Algeria.

Following the 1-0 defeat of Zambia in Uyo on 7th October that guaranteed Nigeria’s place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Rohr, whose qualifying squad has been declared the youngest of all 32 finalists, told “I love working with this group. I am delighted being at the head of such a wonderful, level-headed and ambitious squad.”

NFF Cleaners, Security Men To Share In $8m World Cup Bonus

Cleaners, security men and other secretariat staff of the Nigeria Football Federation will share in the $8m 2018 World Cup bonus FIFA will pay Nigeria for qualifying and playing in the group stage of next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Top officials of the federation revealed to newsmen that all the staff of the federation have been included in the sharing formula because they also played some roles in the success story of the Super Eagles.

“One of the best decisions we took with the players when we discussed the sharing formula for the FIFA money in Krasnodar penultimate Sunday before our famous 4-2 defeat of Argentina in an international friendly game was the inclusion of staff of the federation as far as sharing the money is concerned,” revealed one of the officials who was at the meeting.

“Our decision was based on the fact that the top officials of the NFF do not alone make the NFF. Without the security men, we could not have felt secure enough to do our job. The same applies to the cleaners and others who work in the secretariat. It is like your company, when you pay your end of year bonus do you limit it to the top management cadre alone?

“I am sure all the staff in your organisation will get something, no matter how small.That is the same thing we have done here because we want to recognise them for playing a part in Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup.”

The NFF source however refused to reveal the percentage of the money the staff will get.

He said: “I can’t tell you that. But you know the players and their officials will get 30% of the money and they alone will decide on how they want to share it.”


Source: Complete Sports

Revealed – Hierarchy, Names Of Rohr’s Six Assistants Including Brazilian Tactician

Players of the Super Eagles of Nigeria are presently been handled by six coaches lead by Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr who also doubles as the senior coach among the six.

Rohr also brought three assistants who are to assist him in various capacity while the Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF) employed three others as part of the technical crew of the team.

Frenchman Luc Royer who has worked with Rohr in several places is the first assistant while Brazilian tactician Everson Ferreira acts as the second technical assistant to Rohr.

Salisu Yusuf lead the coaches appointed by the NFF, and he is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring Nigeria Professional Football League players and also the B team of the Super Eagles.

Name                        Position

Gernot Rohr ‎               Technical Adviser

Salisu Yusuf                 Head Coach

Jean Luc Royer             Technical Assistant

Everson Ferreira           Technical Assistant II

Nabil Trabelsi                Video Analyst

Imama Amapakabo       Assistant Coach

Alloysius Agu               Goalkeeper Trainer



Source: Own Goal Nigeria

Nigeria to Play Argentina in November

Three-time African champions Nigeria and two–time world champions Argentina will square up in a high–profile international friendly in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Tuesday, 14th November 2017. Venue is the Krasnodar Arena Stadium.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, at the weekend said that nearly all arrangements have been concluded, subject to approval by world football ruling body, FIFA and agreeable flight arrangements.

“We have had long and fruitful talks, and we can say that we have an agreement. We await the approval by FIFA and also, we have to agree on the flight arrangements that would be comfortable for the players and crew.

“The match will come up on 14th November, four days after the Super Eagles’ final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match away to Algeria. We had offers from teams like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Morocco but we have opted for the Argentines,” Sanusi said.

The Eagles take on Algeria’s Fennecs in what is no more than an academic exercise, at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui in Constantine on Friday, 10th November.

Nigeria and Argentina played two high–profile friendly matches in 2011, the first in Abuja in June ending 4-1 in favour of the Super Eagles.

The Albiceleste trumped the second encounter 3-1 in Dhaka, Bangladesh three months later.

NFF’s FIFA Match Agent Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport, who also organized the friendly matches with the Argentines in 2011, said, “We are very pleased to be able to deliver such a high –profile game to celebrate the Super Eagles’ 2018 World Cup qualification.

“It was a lot of work over the past week but we are happy this has become reality. We will, in due course, reveal the Nigerian sponsor of the match who will have the match rights in Nigeria.”

While Argentina qualified for Russia on the final day of the South American qualification campaign, the Super Eagles have reached Russia with a match to spare.

Nigeria have had to confront Argentina in four of its previous five FIFA World Cup appearances, starting with a 1-2 defeat in Boston, USA in the African team’s debut in 1994. Argentina won another group phase clash 1-0 in Ibaraki, Japan in 2002, won a similar encounter by the same margin in Johannesburg, South Africa eight years later and then edged the Eagles 3-2 in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2014.

Other famous encounters between both nations include two final matches of the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament – Nigeria edging it in 1996 in America and the Argies winning by the odd goal in China 12 years later.

Argentina will take on World Cup hosts Russia in a friendly on 10th November while the Eagles are playing the Fennecs in Constantine.


NFF Chairman Considering Two Friendlies For Super Eagles After Algeria Win

The Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has gathered with his crew to begin its yearly general assembly in Jos tomorrow and is considering reported overtures from two unnamed countries for friendly matches with the Super Eagles immediately after next month’s Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria.

The Nigerian team has been contacted by England over a friendly game with the team to help both nations prepare for the World Cup in Russia next year. But Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, dismissed the report, affirming, however, there were plans for a friend with a yet to be determined country after the game with Algeria next month.

“We cannot talk about playing England now when the draw for the World Cup has not been made. We can only talk about teams when we know our group opponents at the World Cup. But there is a game lined up for the Eagles immediately after the qualifier in Algeria,” Ibitoye said.

An NFF official, who pleaded anonymity, however, told The Guardian that the Federation actually has two friendly opportunities for the Eagles, which would be discussed at the meeting in Jos.

“The matches are just for Coach Rohr to look at some of the players who have not featured in competitive games for the team. “Rohr wants to look at as many players as possible before deciding those that will make his squad when the actual preparation for the World Cup begins next year,” the source said.

The NFF in a statement yesterday said the general assembly brings together the kernel of Nigeria’s football family, including Chairmen and Secretaries of the Football Associations of all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Chairmen and Secretaries of the various Leagues, Referees Association, Coaches Association and the Players’ Union, the members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management, and stakeholders of the game invited for the purpose.

Items on the agenda include presentation of the Consolidated and Revised Balance Sheet and Profit-and-Loss Statement, presentation of the Financial Statement for approval, presentation of the 2018 Budget for approval, votes on proposals for amendments to the Statutes, the regulations governing the application of the Statutes and the standing orders of the General Assembly, as well as discussion of any further items proposed by the Members or by the Executive Committee.

During the business of the assembly proper, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, will present his address, encapsulating activities within the football sector since the last assembly and the Federation’s plans for the year 2018, while General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, will also present the activity report.