• This era of business as usual has to go, says Jala
Former Chairman of the defunct Concord FC of Abeokuta, Mohammed Edewor yesterday declared his ambition to lead the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in the coming election.
Edewor told journalists at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos yesterday that the current administration led by Amaju Pinnick had not done enough to place Nigerian football where it supposed to be, adding that he would run football that will be beneficial to Nigerians.
While some Nigerians believe the Pinnick-led NFF had done much for the nation’s football, particularly in the area of private sponsorship, some are pushing for him to continue in office beyond 2019 considering the smooth way the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup in Russia.
However, Edewor said yesterday that the present board had taken the nation’s football backward. “I want to run a football that is privately and independently managed. I got into football management in 1992. Then, there was no money in football, but Sani Toro was able to manage the situation very well. Today, there is money, but those managing it are not sincere in their dealings. If you look at the DSTV deal, which the NFF signed for the league, it does not trickle down to the clubs. It is not well articulated and there is no sense of management and transparency in it.
“We don’t necessarily need to have a chairman of Shooting Stars or Enyimba to become president of the NFF. I am from Delta State, but Borno State is my adopted home. There is no law in our Constitution that says that the leadership of the NFF must be rotated from one state to another. I am coming into this race as a reformist candidate.
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“I will make sure there is strong financial base for the clubs unlike what we have at the moment. I will make sure the clubs benefit from transfer of players. I will re-organise the league by making sure we have a single league of 24 clubs. I will scrap the current format of A and B in the lower leagues. More importantly, I will see the referees as professionals because they are the guidance of football,” Edewor stated.
Asked to rate the Pinnick-led NFF, he said: “I will do so in three categories-The league, technicality of football and national team. On the league, sadly, I will be magnanimous to rate Pinnick 10 percent because the league is dead completely and we no longer produce players. On the national team, I will rate him 40 percent. The reason he jumped from 10 percent to 40 percent is because the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup. But we qualified, not because we have the materials, but as a result of immigration factor. We depended on children born by Nigerians who are resident outside the country to pick the ticket.
“Technically, I won’t rate Pinnick at all. That FIFA deducted points from us because of a player ineligibility was an impeachable office, if there is anything like impeachment,” he stated.
President of Nigeria Association of Professional Footballers (NANF), Harrison Jala, said there was urgent need for change and restructuring of the NFF for the nation to see the economic potential of the round leather game saying: “This era of business as usual has to go.”