By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
The recent decision of the Federal Government to recognise Amaju Pnnick as the President of Nigeria Football Federation has received the backing of President General of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu OLadipo who described it as a sign of responsive leadership.
The Federal Government last week before the expiration of FIFA deadline, recognised Pinnick as President of the NFF which prevented World Football Governing body ( FIFA) from banning Nigeria from football activities.
In an interview with our correspondent, OLadipo noted that the government did the needful and saved the country the embarrassment associated with FIFA ban just as he advised the Federal Government to put modalities on ground to ensure a credible NFF election.
He was of the view that since the tenure of the present board is gradually winding up, there is need for credible people to be saddled with the responsibility of running the country’s football.
“I’ m happy that the Federal Government did the needful and averted FIFA ban which would have caused a lot of embarrassment to the country. I see it as a sign of responsible leadership and must be applauded by all.
” Having said this, I enjoin the Federal Government to ensure a level playing ground in the forthcoming NFF election so that only credible people who can manage the affairs of the country’s football will emerge at the end of the day”, he stated.
According to him Nigerian football has not faired well in the last four years and it’s only when those with the interest of repositioning the game are allowed to run it, that any meaningful progress would be made.
“It’s unfortunate that our football instead of progressing is retrogressing. How can one explain that a country once rated no 5 in the World is now no 49. It’s also annoying that the last time we could not defend the U-17 World Cup nor qualify back- to back for the AFCON and even when we defeated Sudan 2-1 away for the U-20 African qualifiers, they came here and defeated us 4-3 to ensure we did not go to that competition and even right now, we’ ve started the 2019 Cameroon African qualifier on a wrong note by losing 0-2 to South Africa”, he lamented.
OLadipo while insisting that mediocre must not be allowed to run the glass house expressed surprise that some football stakeholders are applauding the Super Eagles performance in Russia,saying there is nothing to cheer about.
” I’ m surprised that some people are praising the Super Eagles performance in Russia and one begins to wonder the basis of their judgement. For a team that got to the second round in their debut in 1994 and kept the same record in 1998, 2010 and 2014 only to crash out in the Group stage in 2018 could not be said to have a good result.
” I also want to tell those who argued that Nigeria qualified for the World Cup with a game to spare that this is not the first time Nigeria is achieving that feet. We first did it under Philippe Trouser who qualified us for the World Cup after five matches but he was sacked and he went ahead to take Japan to the quarter – finals of the World Cup and as such we. need credible leaders in the new NFF”, he concluded.