By Jacob Ajom
The Nigeria Football Supporters Club has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to do a rethink on the withdrawal of the countryâ€™s football teams from all international competitions for two years.
Speaking in Lagos Friday, President General of the club, Rafiu Ladipo, said governmentâ€™s position would have a very negative effect on the youth of the country who have taken football as their main source of livelihood and the entire business community who provide allied services to the round leather game.
Instead of a blanket ban on all the national teams, Ladipo and his members are askingÂ the president to sift the chaff from the wheat as not all Nigerian footballers were as bad as those who represented the country at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Said Ladipo, â€œWe are begging Mr. President to do a rethink on that decision because a whole generation of Nigerian footballers will suffer because the sins of a few individuals. We are going to lose a lot if the government maintained its stand. We should not jeopardise the future of our youths as they would become redundant.â€
He asked, â€œWhat happens to the young ones of between 18 and 23 years old if we stay away from international competitions for that long? The implications will be far reaching; much more grievous than we envisage.â€
He added that should government stick to its guns it meant Nigeria wonâ€™t be taking part in the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, 2014 and perhaps the 2018 World Cup tournaments, AfricanÂ club championships and the WAFU tournaments.
The NFSC boss and all his members present at the LagosÂ SWANÂ secretariat practically went on their knees and pleaded for a reversal of governmentâ€™s decision, which they believed was taken out of anger caused by the disappointment of Eaglesâ€™ woeful outing at the World Cup. â€œWe are on our knees, Mr. President,â€ they said.
Ladipo had no sympathy for the sacked board of the Nigeria Football Association. Said he: â€œAs far as we are concerned, the NFA is a government parastatal. Government has the right to restructure football in the country. â€œIf the president finds them wanting, he can use governmentâ€™s machinery to deal with them,â€ Ladipo concluded.