By Kate Obodo
Virtually everyone you talk toÂ regarding the way forward for football in Nigeria, talks about restructuring the Nigeria Football Association and getting serious minded Nigerians with sound knowledge of the game to run football in the country.
Ex-international Jonathan Akpoborie also shares the above view. AkpoborieÂ till date is one of the finest strikers that this country has produced. Johnny as he is called in Germany where he lived virtually all his life playing for eight clubs in the German Bundesliga, took a look at Nigeriaâ€™s woeful performance at the 2010 World Cup and heaped the blame on the doorstep of the Nigeria Football Association, stating that the football body simply refused to listen to credible advise.
The former Hansa Rostock FC striker said right from the onset, it was clear that Eagles will fail going by the way the NFA went about the qualification for the World Cup and the sacking of coach Shaibu Amodu.
â€œThe problem in South Africa was not only that of the coach but also that of the NFA. The football houseÂ contributed to the problems we had in South Africa. â€œThey made everything so difficult, starting from the qualifiers, due to their self-fish interest. The fact that they failed to adhered to advises on how to handle the World Cup issue paved way for failure in the last World Cup.
â€œWe tried so many things to remedy the situation, so that we would not haveÂ problem at the end but they refused to listen and the result of their attitude is what we are seeing today.
â€œI personally told them that the coachÂ they brought was not good enough and would notÂ lead us anywhere, going by the limitedÂ time we had then,Â they refused to listen. They knew that Lars Lagarback was not good enough but theyÂ decided to take the risk, and gambled with the feelings of millions of Nigeriansâ€, he said.
On how to solve the problem, the former VFB Stuttgart player said solving
the problem will not be instantaneous. â€œWe need to sit down now and plan on how to go about the affair of football in this country. The issue of fire brigade approach in any tournament should be ruled out.Â We have the talents in Nigeria but the problem is timing and organization.
The past executives of the NFA have failed to see exactly what people like me have been saying. Rather than thinking of six months or four months to the kick-off time of any tournament, we should start now to plan in two to three years before theÂ event in order forÂ effective results.
How do we move our football forward?
First of all, there are discrepancies in the proposed election that they need to correct. When I say so many discrepancies, I mean there are so many things in the football house that they have leftÂ undone. These things should be rectified in order for progress to be made.
ForÂ Christ sake, the NFA should go back and start all over again, so that everybody will see and know the way the football house is being run. We do not want all this dubious act again. There should be a new NFA, this means thatÂ there should be total sanity in the house. If this is done we will now take it from there. Where there is no organization things will not be properly done, same is applicable to the NPLâ€, he added.