The Chairman of Delta State Football Association, Amaju Pinnick, on Monday said that he would not congratulate the champions of the Nigeria Premier League, Kano Pillars, adding that he respects the club but does not believe in “winning at all costs.”
Pinnick, who was speaking on Sunrise Daily, commented on a number of football-related issues particularly those involving poor media coverage of league matches, lack of credibility of Nigerian referees and Coach Keshi’s unpaid salaries.
The Kano Pillars have been celebrated for emerging winners at the recently concluded Nigerian Premier League.
Pinnick stated that although he respects the Kano Pillars for its huge investments in the players and entire club, he will not congratulate the club on winning the League and alleged that the club must have been involved in shady activities.
‘Winning must not come at all costs,” he said, adding that, there are a lot of dirty things in the league.
On the overall planning and execution of the League, the Delta FA boss commended the League Management Committee, LMC, for rescuing the league from a hopeless situation as there were no sponsors in its last two seasons.
He praised the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, leadership as well as the Sports Minister for assisting the committee to redefine the league but he raised issues of ‘hooliganism and terrible officiating.’
However, he averred that a functional synergy between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFA) and the LMC will bring a lasting solution to the problems facing the league.
He advocated that LMC be given more powers to enforce discipline in the league and in the teams which would stem the issue of hooliganism among players.
“The media coverage was also poor as up to 10 teams in a league do not have their games covered especially in the North, including Bayelsa United and Nembe City.”
“If Super Sports cannot go to those areas because of the security issues then it means players and officials cannot equally go to those places.”
Pinnick also asked that LMC be given the authority to discipline referees as well because the questionable credibility of Nigerian referees is not only affecting the league but it reflects poorly on Nigeria’s image in the international football community.
“We are going to the World Cup. Nigeria will be struggling to bring one referee because of the credibility of Nigerian referees whereas countries such as Cape Verde, Burundi will have referees in such big games.
He disclosed that the President is keen on addressing the issue because it is also affecting him.
The committee will soon begin a ‘Friday Night Football,’ ‘Saturday Morning Football’ and ‘Monday Night Football’ programmes to encourage viewership.
On Keshi’s Salaries
He explained that a slash in the ministry’s budget may have resulted in the delay in Keshi’s salary and called on the National Sports Commission, Coach Keshi, as well as the leadership of the NFF to engage in dialogue as delayed pay will not motivate Keshi.
He also warned that such situation “can lead to other dirty things” such as players disrespecting coaches for collecting money from them.
“When you are not being paid, you must look for money to take care of your family,” he added.
He touched on other issues including the NFF President who he said should be commended for exceptional leadership.