Minister Renews Commitment To Grassroots Sports Development

Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare has confirmed that giving a boost grassroots football a boost and promoting youth participation in sports is priority for the ministry.

Mr Dare made the assurance in Daura, Katsina State, at the finals of the 2019 PMB Cup for the Next Level where Arewa United FC of Kankia defeated F.C Barcelona of Daura 1-0 to emerge champions.

According to the Minister, “I can say that what I’ve seen here today has shown that Nigeria is a football nation and that our youths love football so we must support and develop them through football”.

The Minister praised the organisers of the competition for sustaining the tournament over the years, adding that it was in line with the Ministry’s vision for grassroots football development.

“When I came in three months ago, I outlined three things as my strategic plans. One is grassroots development. That means, we shall return to grassroots to fish out talents. What I have seen here today is real grassroot football development with very little support from the government. You can say it is all private personal initiative, so I’m here to support this, to inspire them and to also make sure we support them all the way.”

“I will work with the organizers to look for the four best players from this tournament, I will inject them into the national team, any of the cadres depending on their years, we will hand them over to the NFF as the talented stars we discovered from here,” he concluded.

Forty teams featured at the tournament and the final match had a packed stadium of football fans which include the Governor  of Katsina State, Bello Masari.

Court Discharges, Acquits NFF President Pinnick, Four Others Of Corruption Charges

Amaju Pinnick

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has discharged and acquitted President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, of charges bordering on fraud to the tune of $8.4 million and N4 billion.

Other chieftains of the NFF who were also discharged of similar offences by the court include; Seyi Akinwunmi (1st Vice President), Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President), Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary) and Ahmed Yusuf (Executive Committee member).

The NFF executives were charged on 16 counts of corruption and misappropriation of the said sums from the 2014 FIFA Grant, and conflict of interest and non-declaration of assets, by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP), headed by Okon Obono-Obla.

READ ALSO: NPFL: MFM FC, Plateau United Lead Matchday 1 Review

At the court session on Tuesday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed the entire case with all 16 charges, and acquitted the NFF chieftains, after counsel representing the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) applied to withdraw the charges.

The AGF took over the case from the office of the SPIP which originally instituted the case against the defendants.

The counsel stated that it could not proceed with the matter as the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges.

Sani Katu, counsel to the defendants applied to the court to dismiss the charges and also discharge and acquit the NFF chieftains.

Justice Ojukwu then ruled that she had no option than to discharge and acquit the defendants on all counts, wondering why the case was brought to the court in the first place.

Match Fixing: NFF Issues Warning To Members, Match Officials

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order

 

The Nigeria Football Federation has issued a stern warning to its members and match officials to guard against acts and practices that could be seen to encourage match fixing and match manipulation in any way or form in the upcoming football season.

With the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League season due to kick off on Sunday, 3rd November, the NFF said it encourages match officials and other workers in football to recognize, resist and report any act, practice or tendency that may appear, remotely or directly, to seek to compromise the integrity of any given football match at any point in time.

READ ALSO: U23 AFCON: Amapakabo Selects Team For Title Defence

“It is important that NFF members, including Members of Congress, stakeholders, referees, match commissioners and referee assessors, and indeed everyone involved in the game, resist and report all acts that may seek to compromise the integrity of a game. The NFF will monitor actions and inaction within the perspectives of errors in decisions, which could be classified as: 1) Error of Judgment 2) Error of Knowledge and 3) Deliberate Act.

“The NFF is on a wavelength of zero tolerance for match fixing and match manipulation in any way. The Federation will come down hard on anyone involved in any practice that may seek to bring the game to disrepute,” Barrister Okey Obi, head of the NFF Integrity Unit, disclosed.

Obi assured that the Federation would not hesitate to visit acts and practices that are capable of bringing the game to disrepute with the heaviest sanctions possible, no matter whose ox is gored.

“The eyes of FIFA and CAF are now very, very sharp with regards to match fixing and match manipulation matters. Apart from that, the various security agencies in the land are now taking keen interest in what happens during football matches, a development the NFF is happy about. The NFF Integrity Unit is now working in conjunction with the security agencies to monitor all matches.

“It will no longer be business as usual. Members of NFF especially match officials are warned against going to match venues to front for teams.”

Nigeria’s Olympic Silver Medalist, Isaac Promise Dies At 31

 

Nigerian football international, Isaac Promise Isaac, has died.

Promise who captained Nigeria to the 2008 Olympic silver medal and scored 79 goals in 11 professional seasons in Turkey, died late Wednesday after collapsing at his apartment gym in Austin, Texas, authorities said.

At the time of his death Isaac Promise was aged 31.

The Nigerian football body and the Isaac’s club, Austin Bold FC, confirmed the death via Twitter on Thursday.

NFF, AS Roma Agree On Collaborative Partnership

 

 

The Nigeria Football Federation announced on Friday that  it has agreed a multi-year partnership with top Italian football club, AS Roma.

The partnership, which was unveiled in Abuja, will see the NFF and Roma collaborate together on and off the pitch, with one long term objective being for the club to help further grow and improve all levels of football in Nigeria.

According to an NFF communique, under the terms of the understanding, the two parties will share football, business and media expertise, with Roma offering the NFF technical and operational support and advice in the areas of youth coaching, player development, football administration and digital media best practices.

In return, the NFF will also collaborate with the AS Roma in their projects and development Initiatives in Nigeria.

In the coming months, senior NFF officials will travel to the Italian capital to observe Roma’s award-winning youth academy. As technical advisors in player development, Roma will work with the NFF to help introduce best practices for developing elite talent in order to improve the quality of players available to our domestic clubs and indeed national squad at all age groups.

Roma will also host knowledge-sharing sessions on football business and administration in Rome and set up digital and social media workshops in Nigeria for local clubs and officials.

READ ALSO: FIFA Delegation Visits Iran Amid Ban On Female Football Spectators

On hand at the unveiling ceremony were NFF President AmajuPinnick and his Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko alongside the entire Board members of the NFF. ASRoma’s Head of Academy, Massimo Tarantino and Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy at Roma.

The Nigerian Minister of Youth and Sport Mr. Sunday Dare and the Permanent Secretary Of the the Ministry Mr. O Olusade were on hand to also endorses the partnership.

“We are excited about this unique partnership with AS Roma,” said NFF President Amaju Pinnick.

“We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally recognized space in-spite of the avoidable distractions and the fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football.

“Roma is one of the most respected football clubs in the world, with a very good reputation for consistently developing talented young players. We feel that this partnership can be incredibly beneficial for the Nigerian national team at all age levels and Nigerian football as a whole.

“Roma have shown an incredible support for the Super Eagles and have fully embraced Nigerian football fans, even launching a Pidgin Twitter account, and we look forward to unveiling the exciting projects and initiatives this partnership will unlock.”

Manolo Zubiria, Chief Global Sport Officer at AS Roma, added: “This promises to be an exciting and ground-breaking partnership for both parties. This club is known throughout football for having one of the most accomplished youth development programmes in the world and in recent years, Roma has developed more players who’ve gone on to play professionally than any other club in Italy.

“Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigerian Football Federation. We’re also open to working with the NFF and their partners to assess the feasibility of one day opening an official AS Roma academy in Nigeria.”

The two parties have also agreed to explore the possibility of AS Roma playing an exhibition match in Nigeria – something that club president Jim Pallotta has championed for some time.

“This partnership is the natural evolution of the great relationship between the NFF and Roma that began when Roma announced that with Italy absent from the World Cup, we would be supporting Nigeria,” said Paul Rogers, who travel to Abuja along side Massimo Tarantino to agree the partnership.

“Roma’s digital team began working with the Super Eagles in 2018 on their social media coverage of the World Cup and earlier this year, we again worked with Nigeria during the Africa Cup of Nations.

“Through our unique use of social media, and initially using the hashtag #ForzaSuperEagles, we’ve developed an incredible and fun rapport with Nigerian football fans, media and celebrities and earlier this year we became the first club outside of Nigeria to launch an official Pidgin account, which is managed in Lagos.

“Jim Pallotta, Roma’s President, has made no secret of his wish to see Roma play a match in Nigeria as a thank you to the Nigerian fans for the support they have shown us and it would be great if through this partnership, we can make that happen.”

PHOTOS: ICPC Seals Houses Owned By NFF President Pinnick, Dikko

A photo combination of Mr Amaju Pinnick and Mr Shehu Dikko and their houses placed under investigation by the ICPC.

 

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has sealed the houses of two top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Those affected are the NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick, and the Second Vice President of the nation’s football governing body, Mr Shehu Dikko.

In separate tweets on Friday, the anti-corruption agency announced that it has placed Pinnick’s house in Lagos and that of Dikko in Abuja under investigation.

READ ALSO: Gernot Rohr’s Mother Dies At 97

Although ICPC did not disclose why the properties are being investigated, the tweets were posted with the hashtags ‘Do The Right Thing’ and ‘Integrity Pays’ which indicate corruption allegations.

Mr Pinnick and Mr Dikko, as well as and three other officials of the federation are expected to appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja on September 26 over alleged diversion of FIFA grants.

See photos below:

Pinnick’s house in Lagos.

Dikko’s house in Abuja.


See the tweets below:

‘A Truly Big Tree Has Fallen,’ NFF Mourns Ex-VP Oyuki Obaseki

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has mourned the death of its second Vice President, Oyuki Jackson Obaseki.

Obaseki, who was also a former Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League, died on Sunday in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The NFF noted that the 75 –year old left his giant footprints in the sands of time with his extensive work, passion, and vision to take the Nigerian league’s elite division to new heights.

He was pioneer chairman of the body known as Interim Management Committee which was inaugurated in February 2005, which transmuted to the Nigeria Premier League the following year.

READ ALSO: Buhari Praises D’Tigress For Afrobasket 2019 Victory

Paying tribute to the Obaseki, NFF Acting President Seyi Akinwunmi said, “A truly big tree has fallen.

“We remember very much the work that Chief Obaseki did to promote and project the elite division of the Nigeria League during his time as chairman. It was difficult to match his passion and energy as he pursued his vision for an independent League body.”

He added, “We worked together at some point during the early days of the efforts to reposition the Nigeria Premier League.

“He took everything that needed to be done as a project and drove everyone else around him hard to play their own roles appropriately.”

Obaseki, known with the alias ‘Moving Train’, was the Ohe of Bini Kingdom – a very high-ranking position in one of the oldest kingdoms in the universe.

As Chairman of the Premier League, Obaseki was automatically the Second Vice President of the NFF during the presidency of Sani Lulu Abdullahi between 2006 and 2010.

#WeRememberSam: NFF Marks 30th Anniversary Of Samuel Okwaraji’s Death

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on Monday, remembered football star, Samuel Okwaraji and eulogised him, marking the 30th anniversary of his death.

In a tweet on their official NFF said, “It’s been 30 years since this real and true Nigerian Patriot passed on while on duty for the country. Keep resting in peace, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji. #WeRememberSam.”

The group in the tweet also shared an emotion-laden one minute video to pay tribute to Okwaraji.

READ ALSO: Back-To-Back Champion: Quadri Wins Nigeria Table Tennis Open Title

NFF president, Amaju Pinnick in a quote in the video said, “We still feel and respect the labours of our heroes past, and we want to say today, being the 30th year that Late Okwaraji passed on while playing.

“We still feel the sacrifice and patriotism that he showed, playing for this great country. And we have learnt great lessons from that patriot, even as we continue to use his attitude to guide young talents.”

 

Okwaraji was born on May 19, 1964.

Apart from being a professional lawyer, who played for Nigeria, Okwaraji was also a qualified lawyer who had a masters in international law from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.

He died August 12, 1989, during the Italia ’90 World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola at the National Stadium, Surulele, Lagos.

 

FIFA Team Inspect Ogbe Stadium, Others For U-20 Women’s World Cup

The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) inspection team recently checked out facilities for the hosting of the 2020 edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Edo State.

The FIFA inspection team, which included Christopher Exley, Sara Jane Booth, Kliment Taseki, Rhiannon Ceirwen Martin and Heyral Kaj Jurgen, were conducted round facilities in Benin City, Edo State capital.

Facilities visited include Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, practice pitches at Western Boys High School, among others.

READ ALSO: CAF Declares Esperance African Champions After Legal Battle

They were joined on the tour by Nigeria’s bid coordinator, Mallam Mainasara Ilo and officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) including its President, Amaju Pinnick, Aisha Falode, head of the Women’s Football League, and Ruth David, head of Women’s football at the federation.

The team expressed satisfaction at the state of facilities visited and later paid a visit to the Governor of  Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who assured them that the state is capable of hosting the World Cup.

“We are happy to welcome you to our state and we assure you that we are not only willing to host but also that we have what it takes to do so. Here in Edo, we have a tradition of excellence in Sports dating back to the creation of this state. This will be on full display if Nigeria gets to host the tournament,” Governor Obaseki said.

The Governor added that the 2020 World Cup was coinciding with the 2020 National Sports Festival, which Edo State would be hosting. He said long before the decision by FIFA to inspect facilities in the state, his administration had commenced the construction of facilities and the refurbishing of existing ones for the games.

$25,000 Per Goal: Otedola Has Fulfilled His Pledge, Says NFF

$25,000/Goal: Otedola Has Fulfilled His Pledge, Says NFF
Photo: [email protected]

 

 

Nigerian billionaire businessman Mr Femi Otedola has paid the sum of $25,000 to the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The Nigeria Football Federation disclosed this on Tuesday via its verified Twitter handle.

The nation’s football governing body hosted the business mogul as well as Super Eagles defender Kenneth Omeruo, the team’s administrator Enebi Achor, and equipment manager Chidi Ngoka.

READ ALSO: Dangote, Otedola To Splash $75,000 Per Goal On Super Eagles

Mr Otedola had promised to splash $25,000 on the Eagles per goal in their semi-final clash with Algeria in the just concluded 2019 Africa Cup of Nations championship.

He made the pledge alongside Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, who also promised the team $50,000 per goal.

The Eagles were only able to score a goal as they lost 2-1 to Algeria.

Defender William Troost-Ekong scored an own goal before Odion Ighalo levelled the score line.

A brilliant free kick from Riyad Mahrez sealed a spot in the final for the Algerian team who later beat Senegal to lift the trophy.

The Super Eagles also triumphed over Tunisia in the third-place match to claim the bronze medal of the competition.

Read the NFF’s tweet below:

Nigeria Call Off Nations Cup Bonus Strike

Team Nigeria: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Nigeria on Tuesday suspended a training strike over unpaid bonuses at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt following last-minute pleas by the country’s football officials.

The team finally agreed to train in Alexandria, 30 minutes after schedule, after the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) promised to pay a win bonus from their 1-0 victory over Burundi on Saturday, by the end of the week.

NFF spokesman, Ademola Olajire,

told AFP “the matter has been resolved”, conceding that funds for the tournament had arrived late.

“The NFF received part of the money meant for the tournament today and is in the process of converting it to dollars to pay the players and officials”, he said.

“The only money they’re owed is the win-bonus for the Burundi match”, he added.

The bonuses were expected to be paid by the NFF after Saturday’s game ended.

Officials close to the team, who spoke under anonymity, told AFP that following reassurances from the NFF “the team captain spoke to the players, asking them to show some understanding after which the team agreed to train”.

The players had earlier boycotted the official pre-match conference.

Other NFF officials disclosed that the players have been paid a daily training allowance of $200-a-player from June 2 to June 30.

NFF Denies Corruption Charges By FG  

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has denied that the Federal Government has filed charges against its leadership following corruption allegations by the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP).

The Football governing body in a statement on Tuesday by the Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, Suleman Kwade, said that there is already a pending suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the competence of the investigative panel to prosecute the NFF or its leadership.

“The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) notes that it has been inundated with enquiries about charges allegedly filed against its leadership (Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Seyi Akinwunmi, Shehu Dikko, Ahmed Fresh and Mohammed Sanusi) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. NFF denies that FG has filed any such charges.”

Read full statement below:

“FOR THE RECORDS

RE: NIGERIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION (NFF) DENIES ALLEGED CHARGES BY FG

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) notes that it has been inundated with enquiries about charges allegedly filed against its leadership (Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Seyi Akinwunmi, Shehu Dikko, Ahmed Fresh and Mohammed Sanusi) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. NFF denies that FG has filed any such charges. NFF states that the orchestrated media blitz about the existence of such charges is nothing but the desperate and malicious efforts of the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) to lend itself as an instrument of cheap blackmail in the fight for the political leadership of NFF.

Currently pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja is Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 filed by NFF against SPIP and 3 others, including Chief Obono-Obla himself. NFF in the suit is challenging the competence of SPIP under the law to purport to investigate or prosecute NFF or its leadership. When the matter came up for hearing on April 20, 2019, Barrister Celsus Ukpong, the lawyer representing SPIP wrote a letter applying for an adjournment of the matter, as he could not appear in court for official reasons. The suit was accordingly adjourned to May 13, 2019 for definite hearing.

READ ALSO: FIBA World Cup: D’Tigers To Play Canada, Dominican Republic Friendlies

It is an issue that must befuddle the mind and be of great concern to all Nigerians that the same SPIP should, against the foregoing background then proceed to allegedly file charges in the name of the FGN before the same Federal High Court while the pending suit filed by NFF against it is yet to be determined.

It should now be clear to all that the SPIP under Chief Obono-Obla is acting in contempt of the laws and Courts of Nigeria. Even more deplorable is the fact that its legal representatives will employ deception in dealing with the Court of law regarding a suit to which it is a party and fully represented in court.

The determination of SPIP and Chief Okono-Obla to act unlawfully and in undisguised bias against NFF and its leadership is well documented and forms the basis of NFF’s petition to the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice since January 2019, as well joining the office of the Hon. Attorney-General in all the suits we have filed against SPIP. We are confident that this regrettable matter will be appropriately dealt with in the due course.

We wish to state categorically that the charges filed by SPIP are frivolous and totally baseless.  They are aimed only at scandalising the NFF and its leadership and nothing more, in order to mislead the unwary and uninformed.  This is evident from the great facility with which the news of the charges which were registered at the court’s registry today, May 7, 2019, have been widely disseminated by SPIP and its collaborators.

For instance, SPIP alleges that the leadership of NFF moved N4Billion (Four Billion Naira) from NFF on 3 November 2018. The maliciousness and falsity of this charge is established by the fact that the alleged sum is about four times the 2018 NFF Appropriation in the FGN budget as approved by the National Assembly, which in total was N1.14 Billion (One Billion, One Hundred and Fourteen Million Naira), out of which only about N700m (Seven Hundred Million Naira) was cash-backed for the entire 2018 financial year. It is also on record that since June 2018 till date NFF has only received N110m (One Hundred and Ten Million Naira only) from FGN (which was received only in February, 2019). This is in spite of the fact that NFF has prosecuted about 30 international matches involving the various national teams, (Super Eagles, Falcons, U23 Men Team, U20 Boys, U17 Eaglets, U20 Girls (Falconets), Supersand Eagles etc), requiring the NFF to raise funds independently to supplement the funds from the FGN.

Another example of the desperation and wickedness motivating these false allegations is the SPIP allegation that, in 2014 “during the FIFA World Cup at Abuja”, FIFA appearance fees paid by FIFA was converted to personal use. This is despite the fact that there was no FIFA World Cup in Abuja in 2014, a naked fact known to the whole world. The consuming determination to achieve the goal of slandering the NFF and smearing the reputation of its leadership has made these elements blind to simple facts and reckless.

We wish to state that none of the persons in the leadership of NFF or Executive Committee are signatories or in control of NFF accounts as those roles are exclusively reserved and performed by directors and personnel appointed by FGN from the offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and Auditor-General of the Federation.

Also, NFF under Amaju Pinnick, has since 2014, kept true financial records of NFF Funds as audited by its external auditors PwC (PrieceWaterHouseCoopers) and has taken the extra step of publishing the audited accounts in national newspapers for public consumption and records.

Furthermore, FIFA has consistently given a clean bill of health to NFF regarding its management of FIFA funds. FIFA has never alleged any fraud or misappropriation of its resources or funds made available to NFF and has continued to engage the NFF in its normal operational transactions.

It is important, and interesting, to note that the proposed list of witnesses of SPIP consists entirely of the names of the same persons who have publicly been engaged in fighting the duly elected leadership of NFF, including the forceful takeover of the NFF office in July 2018, the filing of multiple suits to stop the NFF elections of September 20, 2018 in Katsina, Katsina State and the presentation of the same false petitions to all the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria. This should say a lot about these false allegations and the manner of persons actively working in cahoots with Chief Obon-Obla led SPIP to discredit the NFF and its leadership evidently to achieve what they failed to do through the ballot box – which is to effect a change of leadership in in the NFF.

However, it is much to be regretted that these elements have also sought to embarrass our sponsors, partners and consultants in their unholy and desperate gambit to achieve their condemnable efforts to bring NFF and its leadership into public disrepute having failed in all their machinations to take over its leadership.

We wish to assure that our legal team is fully engaged with this matter in order to defeat these baseless and politically motivated attack on the NFF and its leadership. We are confident that at the end of the day the truth will prevail, this mission of destruction will fail and Nigeria football will triumph over this conspiracy.

Hon. (Dr.)Suleman Yahaya Kwade

Chairman, NFF Media and Publicity Committee           

MAY 7, 2019″