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Nigerian Football

Sports media personalities, George Aluo and Nkechi Obi take their seats in league management

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The NFF President Ibrahim Gusau with chairman and members of the NNL Board

George Aluo and Nkechi Obi, two media personalities who have been at the vanguard of calls for improved standard of Nigerian football are now on the saddle to implement the lofty ideas they crave for.

They along with other board members of the other tiers of the Nigerian football leagues have been challenged by NFF president, Ibarahim Gusau to raise the bar in league management.

It was at the occasion of inauguration of the newly-constituted Boards of the Nigeria National League, Nigeria Nation-Wide League One and the Nigeria Women Football League.

George Aluo becomes the second journalist, after Emeka Inyama to head the Nigeria National League. Similarly, Nkechi Obi, a sports marketing and media expert is the second in that professional line to head the Nigeria Women’s League.

Aisha Falode had been a pace-setter. They now face the daunting challenge thrown by Gusau who charged them and the leadership of the Nigeria Nationwide League to come up with feasible plans and marketing strategies that will take Nigeria’s domestic football to new heights.

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Gusau with chairman and members of the NWFL

At the inauguration of the Boards inside the Conference Room of the NFF on Monday afternoon, Gusau also warned that the boards should have clear plans on how to sustain organization of matches and generally fulfil its responsibilities before the commencement of any season.

“We have picked men and women of high calibre, integrity and drive in order that we will have sustainable Leagues. We do not want a situation whereby a league will get to the middle of the season and be saying there is no longer money to run its programmes. We believe we have, in the new boards, men and women who can turn things around.

“I am indeed happy to be here performing this action this afternoon, at a time and period that our domestic football is gaining fresh momentum thanks to the impressive organization of the Nigeria Premier Football League in the recently-concluded season, and also the colour, razzmatazz and positive vibes from the Super 6 of the NPFL, the NWFL and the NNL, and the pre-season Super 8 Tournament that ended in Lagos at the weekend

“Therefore, the task of the new Boards of the different Leagues is to ensure that the momentum is not only sustained, but greatly enhanced in order to take Nigeria domestic football to new heights of excellence.”

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The NFF president insisted that the Leagues are the drivers of the domestic game, and must do the job of transforming the game of football in Nigeria to a robust and profitable business.

“The Nigeria Football Federation is determined that our football should be developed from the grassroots, with so much focus on young players, young referees and young coaches. While we will put up the policies, the Boards of the Leagues will have to put in the energy and drive to implement these policies and generally improve the lot of the domestic game.

“Last year, the Federal Government promoted sports from the category of recreation to business. Football is therefore big business, and we must start to treat it as such. You all have the responsibility to develop workable marketing strategies and media plans to build viable products of the NNL, NWFL and the NLO.”

Responding, Silas Agara,  George Aluo and  Nkechi Obi all promised to work with their various board members to achieve a positive turnaround of the state of Nigeria’s domestic game.

THE BOARDS:

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NIGERIA NATIONAL LEAGUE: Mr. George Aluo (Chairman); Hon. Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki (Vice Chairman); Mr. Yakubu Sarma (Member); Mallam Sani Mohammed (Member); Dr. Donald Ikpe (Member); Chief Joseph Uzoma Ebowusim (Member); Chief Dotun Sanusi (Member); Mr. Emmanuel Attah (CEO).

NIGERIA NATION-WIDE LEAGUE ONE: Hon. Silas Agara (Chairman); Mr. Adeoye Adepeju (Vice Chairman); Mallam Sabo Abdullahi Dutse (Member); Mr. Ogheneochuko Ambakaderemo (Member); Mr. Tunji Onatolu (Member); Barr. Bucknor Akintade (Member); Alhaji Salisu Ibrahim (Member); Mallam Hassan Abdullahi Garo (CEO).

NIGERIA WOMEN FOOTBALL LEAGUE:  Ms Nkechi Nneka Obi (Chairman); Hajiya Hussaina Suleman (Vice Chairman); Alhaja Rukayat Lola Alaya (Member); FIFA Hadiza Musa (Member); Mr. Ayodele Thomas (Member); Ms Henrietta Ehiobor (Member); Mr. Danny Nazzal (Member).

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Osimhen’s outburst was a moment of madness, says Amaju

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President and a  FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has expressed shock at last month’s outburst by Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Osimhen against Finidi George.

“It is very unfortunate”, Amaju Pinnick remarked on an Arise Television programme. The former NFF president said he had put a call to Osimhen who was very remorseful while the telephone conversation lasted.

  “I told him he has to apologise, and I am sure he will if he has not yet done so.” Amaju remarked that he could not comprehend what went wrong as Osimhen was the most cool-headed player in the national team.

He went on to remark that Finidi George was not a personality to be disregarded like that. He has won virtually every honour available during his playing days and was a member of the Super Eagles at their peak when Nigeria ranked fifth in the world.

“I believe players should learn to respect their coaches”, said the former NFF boss.

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Nigerian Football

I prefer a foreign coach for the Super Eagles, says Amaju

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Nigeria’s FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has told the world that he has always been an advocate of foreign coaches for the Super Eagles. He spoke on Arise Television while fielding questions with Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Ayo Mairo-Ese. 

His reason for being averse to indigenous  coaches stemmed from lack of respect for them by the players.

“Yes, the Nigerian coaches have the requisite knowledge and the technical ability, but modern football is beyond that in managing players.

“Will the national team players respect the coach? The sad thing is that they don’t”, said Amaju Pinnick.

 He however revealed that he supported the appointment of Finidi George owing to the circumstances that the NFF found itself after the exit of Jose Peseiro.

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 The NFF, he revealed, had no money to hire a foreign coach. The body therefore went for the most available option, Finidi to ensure a smooth transition.

 “Finidi was part of the coaching crew of Peseiro and it was therefore logical to ask him to continue.

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Nigerian Football

NFF to train referees on VAR

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Application of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR)  may soon be introduced into Nigeria’s domestic football competitions.

This is deduced from the statement of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Ibrahim Gusau while addressing the annual general meeting of the Nigeria Premier League.

He also disclosed plans by the federation to train Nigerian referees on the application Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Gusau revealed that  NFF had already secured the communication gadget that the referees will use during matches.

“We have to train the personnel that will manage the VAR now. We have selected some of the referees that we are to start training.

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It is not a training of one day, one month or two months; it is a training that will take a little bit of time. After the training they have to go on practical training on the VAR system by going out while some matches are ongoing to see how they can manage it. But when we are sure we have the personnel that can manage it in the next one or two years, we will start to see how we can use VAR in our system,” Gusau said.

He also said that the federation intends to make the league attractive by discouraging Nigerian players from joining other lesser glamourous African clubs without established football pedigree.

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