An Open letter to NFF President, Amaju Pinnick by Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello
I would love to join the Global Football Chief, Sepp Blatter in commending you for a job welldone since you resumed office eight months ago, surviving all manners of football crisis.
Having said that, I want to implore you to come home and do your statutory duty as enshrined in the rule book of Nigerian Football. Nigerians are beginning to be aware that you are the first federation president to pilot the administrative affairs of Nigerian football from the United Kingdom because they can count the number of times you visited the Glass House in Abuja since you resume office. It was bad that some have started calling you visiting NFF president.
Rumour millers have gone to town that you are in the UK on health grounds. If there is any iota of truth in the speculation, I feel you need bed rest to recuperate fully instead of junketing all over the UK. I have prayed fervently for God to heal you Sir.
You are lucky that the chief scribe of the federation, Dr Sanusi Mohammed is an experienced football administrator who can handle the secretariat well with little or no input from you, but despite your hard stance on e-administration, you ought to know that certain responsibilities that require your physical presence may suffer greatly with this your disturbing long absence.
How do you defend it that while cobweb has taken over your office at the Glass House, you have rather busied yourself with the responsibility of scouting for players. Even when we all know that charity should begin at home, you are more preoccupied with sourcing of Nigerian players in Diaspora.
We expected you to come out with a long term programme for the U-13 to develop the abundant talents at the grassroots but your knack for foreign based players seems to have crippled such expectation even before it is hatched and actualized.
I stand to be corrected Sir, how many imported overseas bred footballers have made Nigeria proud? None that I know, most of the guys that brought shine to the nation were grassroots players, presently, the best team in Nigeria is the U-20 Flying Eagles, an initiative of Sani Lulu a former NFF President.
Sir my humble advice is that you start your own and stop looking for what is not! Big names or living abroad don’t play soccer, talent does. Our Okocha, even Kanu were discovered in Nigeria. I urge you again to focus on grassroots development.
Before I rest my case, I appeal you allow the technical guys do their job and stop usurping their responsibility by the scouting jamboree. Itis not your duty Sir. What’s it with your constant meeting with Sepp Blatter? Will that develop our soccer?
The Falcons, the most successful football team in Nigeria, moves around without security, they are women, no single security personnel is attached to these girls. They move about in rickety coastal bus and their hotel is below their standard. You are far away to see the dehumanizing treatment they undergo in camp. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
The Falcons will soon be leaving the country for the Women World Cup and of course the U-20 are in Germany but as the head of the federation you should and its your duty to visit them before departure, in case you don’t know this, psychologically it helps.
You made a lot of promises during your campaign, you even said some sponsors are already on ground waiting for you to resume office, it is our turn to now wait for them to surface what is going on. Not forgotten that Nike contract was signed in the UK without a single member of the NFF marketing department, I noticed that and I don’t understand why, whatever happens to professionalism and due process.
Sir, the NFF Secretariat needs to be run professionally, little things like intercom is not there, you cannot bring the desired change by your continued stay in London, go there, supervise and see for yourself.
It was thoughtful of you to send referees and coaches to london on capacity training in conjunction with some NGOs, Mr President I think that a huge numbers of Referees and Coaches might benefit from the requisite training if you bring in the resource persons, you will minimize costs and reach out to many.
The League Management Company is doing well especially on social media coverage, Sir, can you please help improve it more by setting up a management company for the running of the Women league and also be firmer in issues surrounding players contract
The burnt NFF building is under re-construction, it still baffles me why you have the N50 million war chest from Gov Goodswill Akpabio and still could not furnish and relocate to the Siunday Dankaro House new secretariat complex. I suppose it is better to pack into there and enjoy the newness and freshness.
As I wish you all the best in your office, have it in your mind that I write this letter for genuine interest for football, with no hard/ill feelings. I hope my points will be taken, noted and acted upon.