‘NFF Electoral Committee Meet To Ensure Free, Fair Polls’

The Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) electoral committee will ensure that all the candidates for the positions have equal opportunity to test their popularity among the electorate at the polls scheduled for September 29, chairman of the committee, Mohammed Sani Katu has promised.

Katu, who told thenff.com at the weekend that the committee had been meeting to work out a programme that would ensure free and fair polls, said the guidelines and timelines for the exercise would soon be rolled out in line with the provisions of the NFF Electoral Code.

“We have started our work, with a number of meetings. The committee is committed to doing its work fully in line with the dictates of the Electoral Code and to ensure the best –ever NFF Elections come September.

 

“It is a huge responsibility that we have been saddled with but we are very much equal to the task and will ensure that we stage elections that the winners and the losers would be happy about.”

The members of the NFF Electoral Committee and the NFF Electoral Appeals Committee for the forthcoming elections were elected at the NFF General Assembly that held in Jos, Plateau State on October 19, 2017. It was at one of its recent meetings that the electoral panel elected Mohammed Sani Katu, a lawyer, as its chairman.

Katu heads the electoral body that also has Mr. Sani Salawu, S. C. A. Umeha, Olusola Oke and Mr. Mohammed Manzo as members, while the NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, is the secretary. Standby members are Isong Isang and Mohammed Aliyu Sambo.

A. U. Mustapha (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), who is also president of the CAF Appeals Panel, heads the NFF Electoral Appeals Committee, with Mr. Mojeed Adegbindin and Gbwen Alex Gbejule as members, and NFF Head of Legal Unit, Okey Obi, as secretary. Standby members are Sir Emma Ochiagha and Mohammed Zanna Mala.

NFF Requests State FAs To Appoint Integrity Officers

The Nigeria Football Federation has, in line with the implementation of its National Integrity Initiative Guidelines, requested that each of the Football Associations of the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory nominate two individuals as State Integrity Officer and Assistant State Integrity Officer respectively.

In a statement signed by the General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi on Thursday, the State Football Associations are expected to nominate persons of good character and exemplary behaviour for these positions. It is advised that one of these two persons should be a female, and names of the individuals should reach the Nigeria Football Federation on or before Monday, 16th April 2018.

The statement read, inter alia: “The individuals must also possess other qualifications which include being a graduate; they must not currently hold any office in the State FA; they must be computer –literate; they must be able to conduct trainings using Microsoft Power Point Application; they must be able to write very good reports; they must be resident in the State; they must also produce verifiable source of living; they must be of good character and integrity; they must produce a security report from the State Police Command clearing him/her of any criminal indictment and; must not be more than 45 years old.

“The Nigeria Football Federation will do due diligence on recommended applicants and approve if convinced all criteria have been met,” the statement read, while also warning that the names of the preferred candidates should be sent on the letter –headed paper of the State FA to the National Integrity Officer, Dr. Christian Emeruwa.

NFF Top Shots Visit Ikeme In Hospital

The top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF)  have paid a very heart warming visit to  Super Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.

Wolves goalkeeper Ikeme had been the super Eagles first choice before the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary fixture against Swaziland and the first match of the group phase against Zambia in Ndola.

But in some few months ago, he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia after returning “abnormal blood tests” during pre-season testing at English Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers and had to undergo chemotherapy.

On Monday, as the Super Eagles prepared for tonight’s World Cup friendly against Serbia in London, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, led a delegation of NFF top shots and team staff to visit Ikeme at The Christie Clinic in Manchester, where he is being treated, the NFF said in a press release on Monday.

In the delegation also were NFF 1st Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, Super Eagles’ Team Administrator, Dayo Enebi, Eagles’ goalkeepers’ trainer Alloy Agu and team media officer, Toyin Ibitoye.

Pinnick said: “We have come on behalf of the Government of Nigeria and the NFF to check up on you, find out how your recovery is going and to tell you that you are still very much on our minds and a member of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

“We have also come to seek your permission to be our special guest at the pre- World Cup friendly game against England at the Wembley Stadium on 2nd June. We want you to perform the customary kick-off of that game and if you approve of it, we will immediately request this of The Football Association.”

Pinnick further assured the goalkeeper that he would be fully captured in the team’s financial benefits for Nigeria’s qualification for the FIFA World Cup “as we all remember the role you played in helping us get off to a winning start in the final phase of qualifiers in Ndola against Zambia.

“We believe this is just a phase that will pass away. You will come out of it stronger and still be able to do what you love to do the best, both for your club and the Super Eagles of Nigeria.”

Enebi, said: “On behalf of the team, we want to reassure you of our love. The entire team would have been here to see you if we were not playing against Serbia. Coach Gernot Rohr, the technical and backroom staff are all praying for your speedy recovery. The team asked that I present this autographed jersey, signed by all the players, to you. It is our new kit for the World Cup.”

Agu, who is a former Super Eagles goalkeeper, said: “As your goalkeeper coach in the national team, I know you are a fighter, you never give up. I believe these attributes will see you through. We will always be there for you as you recover from this illness.”

An ecstatic Ikeme, moved by all the kind words, responded: “I am so overwhelmed by this show of love. I am indeed grateful to Nigerians who daily flood my phone with prayers and well wishes. I feel their love everywhere, everyday, on social media. I thank the Government of Nigeria and the NFF for all the support and I appreciate my teammates so much for being there for me.”

CAF, NFF Celebrate Ex-Eagles Defender Taribo At 44

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have sent birthday shoutouts to former Super Eagles defender Taribo West who turns 44 on Monday.
Both CAF and NFF took to their verified Twitter handles to send their birthday wishes to the former defender.
According to Africa’s football governing body:”Happy 44th birthday to former Nigerian international and Olympic gold medalist, Taribo West.”
While the NFF wrote:”Happy birthday to former Nigeria SuperEagles hard tackling defender, Taribo West. Thank you for the memories. Any one miss this super defence Trojan?”
West featured for  AC Milan, Inter Milan, Auxerre,  Derby County, FC Kaiserslautern and FK Partizan.
At Inter, he won the 1998 UEFA Cup (now Europa League) alongside the likes of Ronaldo De Lima of Brazil, Chile legend Ivan Zamorano, Argentina duo Javier Zanetti and Diego Simeone (current Atletico Madrid manager).
He was a member of Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles that won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
He represented Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana/Nigeria 2000 and Mali 2002 and also France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002 World Cups.

NFF Sign New 3-Year Contract With Tom Tom

The Nigerian Football Federation has renewed its contract agreements with one of the country’s leading confectioneries, Cadbury PLC as official candy as official sponsors.

The official contract signing of the agreement took place on Friday in lagos.

Present at the event were the Managing Director of Cadbury, Amir Shamsi; ‎Brand Manager, Cadbury Candy, Mr Aruleba Olumide; President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick and NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko, as well as officials of Cadbury.

Shamsi revealed in his speech at the occasion that the deal was not about signing but renewing the partnership with the NFF after 10 years.

“TomTom has been a trusted Nigerian brand all through these years and will continue to give millions of Nigerians the desired soothing relief and refreshment,” he stated.

“We are not just about signing but renewing our partnership with the NFF.”

The NFF’s second vice-president Dikko added: “The new deal with TomTom is three years and the two parties will continue working together to take football to the next level so that it will be a win-win situation,” Dikko revealed during the official signing in Lagos.

NFF Appoints Committees

The President of the Nigerian Football Federation Amaju Pinnick on Tuesday inaugurated the federation’s new audit committee and the technical study group at the NFF secretariat in  Abuja.

Pinnick praised Sunday dele Ajayi  an  executive committee member of the body who is heading the committee for his  contribution to sports  development. He will celebrate his birthday next week.

He said,  “Otunba is a fit and proper person for the role given his huge experience in the financial sector and his calm, collected and mature disposition.

“The audit committee will complement the efforts of our external auditors PriceWaterHouse Coopers and much is expected of them.”

The federation boss  said  the technical study group would function as a committee, collating, analysing and putting at the disposal of the NFF data and ideas  that can enhance the rapid development of  football in  Nigeria.

Pinnick said, “The chairman, Alhaji Abba Yola, needs no introduction. He is someone who has seen it all in sports administration and we  thank him immensely for accepting to serve Nigerian football in this capacity. In due course, members of the technical study group will be attached to the various national teams to impact on those teams.”

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 football365.fr 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 thenff.com.

“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!