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Gladiators jostling for Maigari’s seat

The drumbeats of war have been beating at high pitch as the Elective Congress of  the Nigeria Football Federation holds next Tuesday in Warri, with a new President set t to succeed Aminu Maigari.

In this report, JOHN EGBOKHAN chronicles the agenda of the  aspirants bidding to take Nigerian football to the proverbial next level. 

I ‘ve seen everything in football—Dominic Iorfa 


I am the best person to lead Nigerian football to the next level because I have put in over 30 years of service to football, first as a player, who played at the top level in the Nigerian league, before going to Europe to play professional football, with top clubs in Belgium, England and Turkey and went on to  play for the Super Eagles and I am presently a top administrator of a leading club in Nigeria.

I have administered tLobi Stars of |Makurdi for 15 years, uninterrupted. Of all the other aspirants going bidding to succeed Aminu Maigari, I can confidently say, with all sense of modesty that I am the only one who has the all-round experience to properly position the NFF to achieve better results. Those conversant with the league can readily testify that I’m one of the best administrators around today. I have the magic to change Nigerian football.

One of the things that I will offer if elected President of the NFF, is strong leadership.

The administration of Maigari achieved a lot. It was during his time that we won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey and qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where we  reached the semifinal and are in the race to qualify for the next edition in 2015.

However, despite all these achievements, Maigari’s administration was tainted  because of weak leadership. Maigari was a weak leader and that is why, even with all his outstanding achievements that he cannot seek re-election.

It was during his tenure that we had crises, which came because of weak leadership, When elected NFF President, crisis will be a thing of the past because as a  team player, I will carry everybody aboard the train of progress .

Take the case of our league, the weakness of the Maigari’s board was evident in our league, where a  team got banished to another venue for five matches, only to get a reprieve after serving two matches of the stipulated period. That is not good for our football. We have to be seen to be strong and firm in decision making.

There are so many things that I plan to do for the Nigerian league, which remains the bedrock of our football development. Our league remains the surest foundation for a strong and virile football development because once we have a very strong and highly competitive league system, from the amateur rant to the professional level, then we are surely going to excel as a football country.

Having been in the league since 2000, it is a fact that I am the most eminently qualified person who can readdress the problems of our football. As a former player and current top administrator, I know the stakeholders who will help drive the vision of the incoming administration to every nook and cranny of the nation. I am well known and respected by players,  match officials and  players and that gives me the edge over others. I can solve our problems within one hour.

The biggest problem of our football is greed, where one person wants to control everything and run a one-man show. This sort of greed breeds problems and under-development.

I don’t want to talk about Eagles because I know the problems of the team. I played for the Eagles at a time when some of the candidates were still in school.

I was the Nigerian player from the local league to play in the English league with Queens Park Rangers in 1988-89 season. Alongside Peter Luck from Zimbabwe, we were the first two Africans to play in the English league.

I was also the first player to feature in the Turkish Super Liga and because of that, was denied a place in the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal. They said that they can’t invite a player playing in Turkey  to play for Nigeria but today, most of our players in the Super Eagles are based in Turkey.

It is clear that the current disagreement between Keshi and NFF members has affected the performance of the team. As NFF President, I will ensure that the coach and us are on the same page for the growth of the team. If we are not agreeing, there will be problems. You  have to have an understanding with the technical crew.

I was part of the people who made Stephen Keshi the coach. Keshi has not been happy because of the contract. And the reason being that when a local coach is made  Nigerian coach, what he gets is so small when compared when a foreigner is appointed Eagles coach. And there is no way an indigenous coach will be happy with such a pay. If they want Keshi to succeed, you have to give him the same contract as the expatriates because our local coaches believe that the foreigner is not better than  them…

My final message to the delegates is that they should vote for the candidate who will guarantee the progress of our football. The delegates are important stakeholders in Nigerian football and I urge them to vote for me because I will change the face of our football.  I’m the right person to be the President and I promise to run an all-inclusive administration.

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