By Paul Bassey
Permit me to go back to the seminar I attended last week in Cairo and its attendant coincidences.
The CAF Club Licensing System (Already operational in FIFA and UEFA) is a bold attempt aimed at professionalizing clubs in Africa.
Its objectives as found in the CAF Club Licensing Regulations include but not limited to
- Promoting and improving the quality and the level of all football aspects in Africa.
- Ensuring that the clubs have the appropriate infrastructure, knowledge and application in respect of management and organization
- Adapting and improving the clubs sporting infrastructure
- Improving the economical and financial capacity of the clubs, through proper corporate governance and control.
- Ensuring and guaranteeing the continuity of the international competitions of clubs during the season.
- Allowing the parallel development and comparison amongst the clubs by ensuring the necessary compliance in terms of financial, sporting, legal, administrative and infrastructure criteria etc etc
Very loaded and instructive, if you ask me.
As a CAF Instructor on Club Licensing, one of the six in Nigeria, I set out to Egypt last week and coincidentally came across officials and players of Dolphins Football Club who regrettably had spent the night at the airport because they had missed their flight the day before. (Five minutes drive from the airport are hotels that charge as less as five thousand naira a night).
In a chat with Coach Eguma, we concluded that a lot of things were wrong and that it was a pity that they were found in Nigeria by noon on the eve of an international match in far away Tunisia. Worse, their flight was not direct as they still had to transit in Dubai.
On getting to Cairo, news filtered in that Dolphins got to Tunis late (of course) and were walked over by Club Africain.
This, was the kernel of Club Licensing and Dolphins case became a case study throughout our stay in Cairo to the chagrin of the Nigerian Instructors ( General Oneya, Mazi Uchegbulam, Dr. Ojo-Oba, Samson Adamu).
An important feature of the Club Licensing Criteria is that Member Associations are responsible for granting licenses. In this case, the Nigeria Football Federation as Licensor is the body that operates the Licensing System and grants the necessary license.
Don’t forget that the regulations also stipulate that “ If the License applicant (Club) does not fulfill any ‘A’ criteria requirements, then it cannot be granted a license to enter the CAF inter club competitions.
We arrived Cairo to the preliminary report, that of assessing those Member Associations that have fulfilled necessary criteria in advancing the Club Licensing development. Incidentally the NFF ranked high on the table.
According to documents made available to us, “NFF has inserted the Statutory Club Licensing Clauses in its Statutes, it has sent out the regulations, it has set up the Decision making bodies (First Instance Body (FIB) and Appeal Body (AB) it has confirmed organizing seminars for clubs especially in the premier league and it has confirmed appointing a Club Licensing Manager (CLM). That official who is saddled with running all the Club Licensing affairs in the Member Association.
Incidentally while NFF claims to have appointed a CLM, those countries that are Club Licensing models like Algeria, South Africa are yet to do so.
The argument then was, if the NFF has done this much and gotten this far, how come one of its clubs could be so naïve in the approach to an international fixture?
With CAF still investigating the circumstances of their walk over, we (Nigerians Instructors) decided to keep mum, knowing quite well that the story back home was one that could shock Africa especially those countries like South Africa, Algeria, Egypt (Al Ahly has a register of 50 million card carrying and fee paying Supporters!) Morocco, Tunisia etc.
Briefly, two days into the seminar, I got into my room Tuesday evening and sent a release calling for a probe of the Dolphins Shame. This was one case too many. Our football has been a subject of so much ridicule in Africa that it was high time the decline was arrested.
While at it how can I forget the embarrassment suffered by Kano Pillars in Sudan? According to Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima the club got to Sudan to discover that the new CAF Regulations mandating clubs to make their own accommodation and feeding arrangements had not been passed on to the clubs, yet the NFF claimed to have had a seminar with the clubs prior to their continental assignments!
So Pillars arrived Sudan and waited for the hosts to take them to their hotel and the informed hosts waited for them to direct them to the hotel they (Pillars) had reserved according to the latest regulations! DON’T LAUGH.
Briefly, never again. Let us arrest this ugly and reoccurring issue NOW.
The return of Keshi
A journalist rang me up on Saturday to inform that Keshi was back and sought my opinion.
That Keshi has in the process agreed to turn a new leaf etc etc….
I told him I wished Keshi well for Nigeria’s sake.
See you next week.