7 Minutes with China: It’s not easy to be president of the broke Nigeria Football Federation

7 Minutes with China: It’s not easy to be the broke president of the Nigeria Football Federation

The Nigeria Football Federation is broke like it has been for the immediate past few years.

They hardly have money to meet their basic needs and from an era where we were told they would be self-sustaining, they got to a point where they would go cap in hand begging the sports minister or any willing state governor to foot their bills.

That is where the Nigeria Football Federation is right now, and the events of the past three years have shown the Federation is broke or should be. We have not been able to pay coaches, we have reduced the number of people in the back room staff.

But in all of the financial crisis facing the Federation, the Super Eagles played a dead rubber game with an entire squad of foreign-based players and it makes one wonder how a broke Federation was able to afford that.

I just tried to make a rough calculation of what was spent on just air travel for the players and officials, and if they had flown the cheapest economy tickets, the NFF would have spent £8, 800 ( which would be about nine million naira). If the NFF got them Business class tickets, they would have spent £34, 408 ( about thirty-four million naira) on flight tickets alone. And this is a game that meant nothing because we would have still qualified even if we lost two hundred nil at home.

So, what should the broke NFF have done?

Use the Home-based players?

For a dead rubber game, a broke Nigeria Football Federation did not need to invite twenty-two foreign-based players.

Now, the argument would be that the Nigeria Premier Football League has been on break for three months, but the counterargument would also be that the players have not been in their houses drinking palm wine while eating catfish pepper soup. The clubs have been in pre-season, training and playing games. These should count for something against Sao Tome, right?

What about if the NFF wanted to prove they were broke by using players of only Remo Stars, Enyimba, Bendel Insurance and Rivers United for this game? At least three of these four clubs played on the continent a month ago. Or were the opponents, not Sao Tome and Principe? A team we beat 10-0 in the away leg?

Well, I know only two coaches would have been bold enough to do this and it is sad that they are both dead- Shaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi.

Or if the NFF and Peseiro were too scared to risk using the Nigeria-based players for the game, then they could have invited just eleven foreign-based players and let all 11 substitutes be from the home league. We surely did not need that kind of team for a dead rubber game, but aren’t we Nigeria again? And are they, not the broke Football Federation?

I sometimes do not blame the NFF president because Nigerians and the most finicky of people. and you cannot please them. Ibrahim Gusua knows Nigerians will turn against him and the federation if they don’t close out a game like the one against Sao Tome. So, the only sure bet is using foreign-based players, even if the game is against Wezina United.

Sporting Lagos to win the League this season

Godwin Enakhena

The other day, I saw a statement credited to the chairman of Lagos-based clubside, Sporting Lagos FC, Godwin Enakhena, saying that they want to win the Nigeria Premier Football League.

I saw that statement and hoped it was a prank because I did not expect Godwin Enakhena to have said that. But why shouldn’t he have said that? Doesn’t everyone go for the title? Is it impossible to win the league? Do they go into every game, planning to lose some, after winning some, in a bid to not win the league?

Clubs set targets for themselves, and it does them a world of good, if they are realistic about these targets.

I do not see the chairman of Nottingham Forrest say he wants to win the EPL or even finish in the Top 4, even though this is his second season there. He would set a target to stay up in the division and if they do once again, he would talk about a top-half finish.

It is only in Nigeria that a club just manages to get to the top division and set a target to win the league outrightly, because, maybe people think our league is a jungle, but has this been done before?

A history of firsts

In my era, the first football club I knew that won the league in their first season was Leventis United in 1986.

The thing about Leventis United was that they were the top team in the mid-80s in Nigerian football… Okay, add New Nigeria Bank FC. Leventis United, as a 3rd Division club in 1984 won the FA Cup, beating bigger clubs like Enugu Rangers in the quarter final, NNB FC 2-1 in the semi final and Abiola Babes 1-0 in the final.

The next time this happened was in 2006 when Ocean Boys FC, coached by Maurice Cooreman won the League in their first season.

So, Sporting Lagos FC will not be doing something undone if they do win the League, but why does Godwin Enakhena want to put his young team and himself under unnecessary pressure?

Godwin Enakena faints, while at MFM FC

I will not teach Godwin how to do his job as a club chairman, but whatever happened taking it easy on your first season, and telling the fans that you are there to stay up and consolidate on your gains? Then your players will be more relaxed, coaches and fans too, and they can even go for the kill, being the surprise factor.

Dear Godwin Enakhena, when the pressure to win the league starts, please do not faint at the stadium because we will not be there to support you from falling.

I wish your team the best though.

My 7 minutes are up

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