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Hamilton, Oliha set agenda for Owumi

By Jacob Ajom
The election of Davidson Owumi as the new chairman of the Nigeria Premier League has been hailed by former footballers as a healthy development that would usher in a fresh chapter in the quest to position Nigeria in her rightful place among the comity of football playing nations.

Thompson Oliha during the game against Italy at the 1994 World Cup.

In his reaction, former national team handler, Paul Hamilton, said, “it’s a welcome development and a great trend that would move Nigerian football league forward.”

Hamilton sees Owumi as “perhaps, the man who can rebuild the system and make things work for Nigerian players plying their trade in the local scene.

“He has been around for long. Owumi played the game and has been an administrator for sometime now. He is a very sincere man. Let him remain focussed and the sky would be his limit.”

Hamilton had some ideas for the new NPL helmsman. “He should look into the composition of club managements, most of who are dominated by government officials. We have clubs that don’t have club houses. You cannot go to any club and find anything near the desired standard. What we have here are teams, not clubs.

The day we see our teams run as clubs we can then call them clubs. For instance you go to a club and find the coach with an office, the physio and other backroom staff with their offices. I don’t think we have clubs in this country. These are areas I want Owumi to start with; setting the structures right,” Hamilton said.

In his own reaction, Tunisia ‘94 hero, Thompson Oliha, said Owumi’s election was the most pleasant piece of news he had had for a long time now. “It’s great. I love that,” Oliha exclaimed repeatedly in a telephone chat with Sports Vanguard.

Continuing, the member of Super Eagles squad to USA ‘94 World Cup said, “He must tackle the aspect of match-fixing in Nigerian football, deal with player/club contracts, compel clubs to abide by the terms of their contracts and repackage  the league so that the television, the radio and the media generally can come more into it.”

Oliha said so far, “we are not seeing the beauty of the league because the players are not motivated, sign-on fees are not paid on time, lopsided contracts and at times there are no contracts at all. This must stop.”

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