Solution To Nigerian Football Crisis Is Government’s Withdrawal – Tijani

Nigerian FootballVeteran Sports Journalist, Kayode Tijani, says the solution to the crisis that has continued to rock Nigerian Football and its administration is for the Nigerian Government to embrace total withdrawal from Nigerian football.

Speaking on the Friday edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, Tijani said that the reason why the National Sports Commission, NSC, would always want to lord it over the Nigerian Football Federation is because there is so much money in the federation being put in by the government.

Nigeria escaped yet another FIFA ban as it beat the deadline set by the world football governing body for it to resolve the leadership tussle it has been embroiled with, although some Nigerians have frowned at FIFA’s seeming disregard for Nigerian laws and administrative peculiarities.

This view, Tijani disagreed with, saying that Nigeria having agreed to belong to FIFA had agreed to abide by the rules of the body.

“A lot of people are getting it wrong. Germany, during the first war and the second war left FIFA because to FIFA ‘you can’ t be here because of all your problems’. The same thing happened to South Africa, even England at a time (when) they had some disagreement.”

He, however, also took a swipe at FIFA because of their many threats, “I am not saying FIFA is this squeaky clean (organisation), they are not.

“FIFA is one of the most corrupt organisations in the world but when they do their thing they do it very well.

“So for me, it is the (Nigerian) Government’s problem from time immemorial. The Act for the NFF has been there for the past eight years, why don’t you pass it to solve all these problems?”

A ban by FIFA would ensure that Nigeria loses the opportunity to appear at international football competitions both at club and country level and Tijani believes this would not have been a loss but would rather ensure that monies are not wasted.

Local League Development

While Tijani expressed happiness that the country was able to resolve its issues, he noted that the fear of being banned by FIFA should not be Nigerians’ concern but how to develop the game within the country.

He noted that the Nigerian league should be more important to Nigeria and not the fear of losing spots at FIFA’s international competitions.

He highlighted a number of factors militating against the growth of Nigerian football leagues as well as the challenges Nigerian clubs were facing, including the situation whereby several players were not being paid their salaries.

Kayode mentioned some European leagues, as well as the South-African league as examples of places where governments have no hand in the management of their leagues.

“In Germany, the only involvement of government is infrastructure,” he said, maintaining his earlier stance that the Federal Government of Nigeria has to withdraw its direct involvement with the management and funding of the game.

Super Eagles

Tijani also had some words for the players and handlers of the Super Eagles as Nigerians look forward to the team’s next African Cup of Nations qualifier.

“Are we going to win? I don’t know. Stephen Keshi to me is a hero, he’s done so much but…why holding us to ransom with players who are not going to perform? The likes of Mikel, I don’t know why.

“Muda Lawal in midfield? Mikel? I can never compare a Mikel or some of these players who are holding us to ransom.

“I was in Sudan with them, they were talking about playing on synthetic (pitch), I am in shock! Rashidi Yekini scored in Sudan in 1993 and that was not even a pitch!” he said passionately.

NFF Crisis: Minister Must Denounce Giwa To Avoid FIFA Sanction – Tijani

NFFA veteran Nigerian Sports Journalist, Kayode Tijani, has frowned at the manner in which the crisis in the Nigerian Football Federation is being handled.

Tijani spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily via the telephone from Abuja, to share his views on the goings on in Nigerian football administration.

He stated that the only way for Nigeria to avoid heavy sanctions was for the Sports Minister to denounce the factional NFF President, Chris Giwa, and put security at the Federation Secretariat latest by 8AM on Monday, September 8 “to let the Maigari faction take over”.

He explained that even if the Government was the major financier of the NFF, it still has to abide by the recommendations of world football governing body, FIFA, who is threatening heavy sanctions over the matter.

He refused to condemn the decision to unseat embattled NFF President, Aminu Maigari, but asked that things be done properly without attracting sanctions that would damage the image of the country and the entire sport sector.

As recommended by FIFA, there must be a congress chaired by Aminu Maigari, whom they recognize as the NFF President, for their to be any change in leadership.

Nigerians have suggested that Government taking its hands off football matters could reduce the regular crisis in the organisation and Tijani said that although it would take a while for things to stabilize, the move might be productive in the end.

He cited the League Management Committee as an example of the kind of independence that could be good for the NFF.

On the insistence of factional President of the NFF, Chris Giwa that only the Court of Arbitration for Sports could ask him to vacate the office, Tijani said, “If he wants that there is no problem but first of all resign or remove yourself from there.

You can’t be staying in there and saying you want the Court of Arbitration panel. Its not even in his power. There is supposed to be a congress.”

Tijani blamed greed for the crisis, as everyone was “rushing there because of the cash the Government is bringing”. To him, there is no other basis for anyone to put personal interest ahead of the risk of Nigeria being banned by FIFA.

He warned of the possibility of all potential corporate sponsors of Nigerian football withdrawing their support of the game as they would not want to be associated with controversies.

The man, fondly referred to as the ‘Sport Encyclopedia’, believes that the impact of this on the Super Eagles’ performances would definitely be negative.

He also frowned at the practice of some media practitioners who have decided to take sides in the matter. He urged them to learn from Channels Television who have reported the crisis without bias, as this was the only way to help Nigeria move forward.

Nigerian league needs to grow for national teams to progress – Analyst

A sport journalist, Kayode Tijani on Monday said that the Nigerian league would need to grow before the national teams will begin to make significant progress.

Mr Tijani, who speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily against the backdrop of Super Eagle’s trashing of the lone stars of Liberia 6-1 on Saturday, said presently the Nigerian league is nothing to write about.

“Without the leagues in Nigeria growing, we are just wasting our time,” he said.

“The league in Nigeria is nothing. The players are owed, no single player is on contract, no single coach is on contract; signing on fees, they don’t get it until the end of the season, the players are on ridiculous salaries, no insurance, nothing,” Mr Tijani said.