By John Egbokhan
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha is angling to become the Vice-President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), when elections hold in August.
With so much money available from FIFA, CAF, sponsors and government, being on the NFF board is akin to being in an oilfield, where the rewards are endless. In a World Cup year like this one holding in less than five months time in South Africa, NFF membership can be all too rewarding and gratifying, which makes for the intense lobbying that has characterized this race.
Sani Lulu, the former Director of Sports in the Federal Capital Territory is the incumbent President of the NFF board, which has come under heated criticisms from Nigerians for the decline in the fortunes of the national teams, irrespective of the qualification of the Eagles for theÂ World Cup in South Africa.
Lulu and his henchmen like Taiwo Ogunjobi, Bolaji Ojo-Oba and Amanze Uchegbulam, with so much more at their disposals, are seeking reelection into the board but many other stakeholders are hustling for a bite of the apple and one of such persons is famed star, Austin Okocha, who is hinging is campaign on the need for Nigeria to toe the modern path, which has allowed former footballers who know the game to get into the murky waters of soccer administration at the highest level.
Okocha, a former Nations Cup winner and World Cup second-round finalist, we gathered in Angola, venue of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, wants to be on the next board because of his desire to throw Nigerian football into the spotlight for all the positive reasons.
One close associate of the former Bolton Wanderers captain, said in Luanda that Okocha has been nursing the idea of going into football administration since he quit playing football, some years back, adding that the nest NFF election has provided the best forum for the magical midfielder to try his stunts for the good of the game.
â€œOkocha is serious about becoming the vice-President of the next NFF board and I am telling you authoritatively. Because he has played the game to the highest level and knows the game and without doubt, is passionate about footballersâ€™ plight, Okocha has thrown his hat into the ring for the election.
â€œWe have been consulting with persons who are in the know and we hope that Nigerians would allow Okocha to have shot of being amongst the persons who would run the next board of the NFF, because with him around, you can be sure that our football fortunes would improve.
â€œThose presently running the game might have the passion but they certainly do not know how to run the game. They have made our teams the laughing stock of the world and Okocha strongly feels that this trend must be halted now or else our football would be derailed for another four years.
â€œOkocha feels that Nigeria should embrace the modern trend where former footballers now run the game in the world, like with Kalush Bwalya in Zambia and he hopes to break the barrierâ€, added the source, who asked for his name to be mentioned in print.