Channels TV Wins Aiteo-NFF Development Award

 

Channels Television has won the AITEO-Nigeria Football Federation award for the second consecutive year, for promoting football at the grassroots.

The Channels International Kids Cup, a corporate social responsibility programme of the TV station, started in 2009 as a Lagos state competition and has evolved into an international event featuring participants from the Benin Republic and Ghana.

The tournament received the development award at the maiden edition of the NFF awards for constantly improving on the objective of discovering and nurturing young talents under the age of 13 in primary schools.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ stand-in captain Ahmed Musa and Super Falcons’ opposite number Onome Ebi took the big gongs at the second edition of the awards that held in Lagos on Monday night.

Among the winners were Super Falcons’ coach Thomas Dennerby, Super Eagles’ ace winger Samuel Chukwueze and Enugu Rangers’ coach Olugbenga Ogunbote.

The project started only last year, but, like the first edition, dignitaries and guests came from all over Africa and other parts of the world.

The highlight of the night, by miles, was the special recognition of the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994 – the squad widely nicknamed ‘Golden Generation’ after qualifying Nigeria for her first ever FIFA World Cup finals, winning the Africa Cup of Nations on away soil for the first time and coming within 100 seconds of a quarter-final place at the World Cup in the United States of America.

Physically present and bathed in applause were goalkeepers Peter Rufai and Alloy Agu, defenders Austin Eguavoen, Uche Okechukwu, Benedict Iroha, Nduka Ugbade and Taribo West, midfielders Mutiu Adepoju, Austin ‘JJ’ Okocha, Sunday Oliseh and Edema Fuludu and forwards Finidi George, Samson Siasia and Daniel Amokachi. Omoyemi Yekini, daughter of the ‘goalsfather’ Rashidi Yekini, stood in for her late father as well as the four others who had passed on: team Captain Stephen Keshi, goalkeeper Wilfred Agbonavbare, defender Uche Okafor and midfielder Thompson Oliha.

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Emmanuel Amuneke, Michael Emenalo, Emeka Ezeugo, Efan Ekoku, Isaac Semitoje and Chidi Nwanu could not make it down to Nigeria for the ceremony. While a couple of the players present on Monday night did not make the final cut for the World Cup in America, six members of the group went ahead to join the Dream Team and return to America to conquer – by winning Africa’s men’s football gold at the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta two years later.

Secretary-General of FIFA, Ms Fatma Samoura (the first African/first woman to occupy the position) was honoured with the NFF Order of Merit Award, as Presidents of 18 Member Associations of FIFA, the Abia State Governor (Chief Okezie Ikpeazu), the Acting Governor of Edo State (Comrade Philip Shaibu), two Governors-elect (Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Abdulrazak Abdulrahman of Kwara State) and captains of industry, political juggernauts, A-class artistes and heavyweight stakeholders of the game watched at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management, Members of the NFF Congress and chairman of various Clubs were also in attendance.

President of the Nigeria Football Federation and First Vice President of CAF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, once more eulogized the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for providing the conducive environment for football to thrive and for total support for the NFF and the various National Teams, while calling on Nigeria’s other billionaires and well-heeled companies to emulate AITEO Group and boost the development of football in Nigeria.

Business mogul and politician, Chief M. K. O. Abiola was honoured with the NFF Presidential Award, while Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his hefty support for football projects and programs of the National Teams.

There were several members of the CAF Executive Committee, namely Dr Danny Jordaan of South Africa, Suleiman Waberi of Djibouti, Aisha Johansen of Sierra Leone, Moses Magogo of Uganda and Sita Sangare of Burkina Faso.  All noted the good and great works that Samoura, who spent 21 years working for the United Nations, has been doing as chief accounting officer of FIFA since she assumed office three years ago.

NFF First Vice President and Chairman of the Awards organizing committee, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi said the Federation decided it was apt to honour the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994, 25 years to their AFCON –winning exploits and FIFA World Cup performance. It would be recalled that Nigeria was named the second most entertaining team of the USA 1994 World Cup.

Responding on behalf of the 1994 Eagles, defender Austin Eguavoen expressed deep appreciation of the squad to the NFF for the honour, while also using the opportunity to plead that NFF should help the players pursue the Federal Government’s promise of a house for each member of the squad, following the AFCON triumph in Tunisia 25 years ago.

2ND AITEO-NFF AWARDS WINNERS

Young Player of the Year (Female): Anam Imo

Young Player of the Year (Male): Samuel Chukwueze

Fair Play Award: Akwa United FC

Fans of the Season: Kano Pillars FC Fans

Coach of the Year (Female): Thomas Dennerby

Coach of the Year (Male): Olugbenga Ogunbote

Goal of the Year: Ahmed Musa

Team of the Season: Super Falcons

NFF Development Award: Channels Television (Channels International Kids’ Cup)

Special Recognition: Super Eagles of 1994                           

Lifetime Achievement Award: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode

NFF Presidential Award: Chief M.K.O Abiola (of blessed memory)

NFF Order of Merit Award: Fatma Samoura

Player of the Year (Female): Onome Ebi

Player of the Year (Male): Ahmed Musa

FIFA Only Recognises Pinnick As NFF President – Infantino

FIFA Only Recognises Pinnick As NFF President – Infantino
(File) FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during a press conference prior to the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament in Moscow. Photo: Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

 

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says the world football governing body only recognises Amaju Pinnick as President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

He made the declaration on Friday while addressing a press conference in Moscow, Russia, following a court order which directed Mr Chris Giwa to take over the leadership of the Nigerian football governing body.

“Nigeria Football Association has a president, his name is Pinnick,” said Infantino. “We have been already clear about that some time ago.”

“I heard the issue came up again, but the situation is very clear; we have statutes, we have regulations. There can be no interference in the running of the association and for this reason, Pinnick is working here in an official capacity,” he added.

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Case Involving Ex-NFF Chairman Maigari To September

The FIFA president noted that Pinnick was duly elected as NFF President in accordance with the rules of the global body.

He insisted that it is not for any other body to intervene in the matter and warned the Nigerian government that continued interference might lead to sanctions.

“For FIFA, he (Pinnick) is the president elected by the members of the Nigeria football association and that’s the end of the story,” Infantino affirmed.

“If any external body thinks that they can change the situation, then Nigeria would risk being banned like it happened in other countries because we have democratic processes and they just need to be respected.”

L-R: NFF President Mr Amaju Pinnick; FIFA President Gianni Infantino; Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura; and Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad, at the Government House in Ikeja February 19, 2018.

 

Back in the country, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, said the Federal Government has played no role in any of the cases.

He told reporters in Delta State that the crisis has lingered for more than 15 years and urged parties involved in the NFF leadership tussle to settle their issues internally.

Authentic NFF President?

Mr Pinnick has been involved in a serious legal tussle since he assumed office as the NFF President in 2014.

Giwa and some other persons had approached the Federal High Court, Jos, on September 19, 2014, arguing that the Pinnick-led executive was not the authentic NFF executive elected on August 26, 2014.

Following a number of court cases, the Supreme Court set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Jos, Plateau State, on the discontinuation of the case on the leadership tussle in the football body.

The appeal court later held in 2016 that the case could no longer be relisted before the Federal High Court, having been earlier withdrawn by the appellants.

But a five-man panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, unanimously set aside the judgment of the appellate court in late April 2018 and sent the case back to the Federal High Court where the trial started in 2014.

June 5, 2018,  Justice M. H. Kurya of the Federal High Court, Jos, held that the NFF election conducted on August 26, 2014, under the leadership of Chris Giwa be given recognition pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed in the case.

He also ruled that the purported ban of the Executive Committee elected on August 26, 2014, from football activities of the NFF was unconstitutional, null and void.

Referring to the ruling in a statement on July 2, the sports minister asked Pinnick to respect the order of the court and step aside as NFF President.

Dalung had attributed the directive to a written notification from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, requesting him to ensure compliance with the court rulings on the matter.

Hours later, Giwa, who has since insisted that he is the duly elected president of the NFF, arrived at the NFF headquarters amid heavy security operatives to take control of the body.

Mr Chris Giwa with some officials at the NFF Secretariat in Abuja on July 2, 2018. // Twitter – @niyi7busari

 

With FIFA’s intervention, the football community hopes the government would support Pinnick as the authentic NFF President or risk a ban on Nigeria as threatened by Infantino.

Power Tussle: Court Adjourns Case Involving Ex-NFF Chairman Maigari To September

A Federal High Court sitting in the Jos judicial division has adjourned the case involving former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Chairman, Aminu Maigari and former Secretary General, Musa Amadu, to September 25, 2018.

This is because the court is on vacation. Justice Musa Kurye while adjourning the matter on Tuesday advised counsels in the matter to apply to the Chief Justice of Nigeria for fiat in order to have the case heard during the vacation period or seek for the transfer of the case to Abuja if any of the party wants a speedy trial.

Since 2014, there has been a legal battle for the running of affairs for the NFF when the duo of Yahaya Adama and Obinna Ogba commenced a suit seeking declaratory and injunctive reliefs against the then chairman of NFF Aminu Maigari and the then Secretary General, Musa Amadu as well as the defunct executive committee of the NFF to the effect that the Congress and election of the NFF held on August 26, 2014, was the only valid election.

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Festus Keyamo Withdraws As Lawyer To Aminu Maigari, Musa Ahmadu

The legal tussle had been on and off until the Supreme Court ordered that the suit be relisted and remitted back to the Federal High Court for retrial on the merits and when the trial came up for hearing once again, it was arguments by the counsels bothering on several legal terms and jurisprudence.

The twist was introduced into the matter after the appearance of a new counsel to represent Aminu Maigari and Musa Amadu to the amazement of the counsel Festus Keyamo.

Keyamo eventually announced the withdrawal of his legal services to the defendants which the judge rightly obliged. Samuel Shankyula is then recognised as the new counsel to the defendants.

Justice Musa Kurye had to proceed on a recess to determine another issue bothering on the withdrawal of an earlier application filed by the defence on May 28, 2018, urging the trial judge to recuse himself from conducting the trial suit.

On resumption, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs have a right to respond to the withdrawal in the spirit of justice and fairness.

After several arguments by the counsels, Justice Kurye ruled that the matter be adjourned to the September 25 to allow the new counsel to brief his clients as well as go through the application for withdrawal.

CAF B-Licence Coaching Course Ends In Abuja

CAF B-License Coaching Course Ends In AbujaThe CAF B-Licence Coaching Course organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has ended in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training, Chairman of the League Management Company, Mr Shehu Dikko, tasked participants to be willing to invest in learning new trends and technological innovations in the game.

He also challenged Nigerian coaches to always support one another, especially when any of them is appointed into the national teams.

A total of 75 participants on Friday collected certificates of participation in the conference room of the NFF/FIFA Technical Centre at the National Stadium Complex.

Those who participated include former Nigerian midfielder, Garba Lawal, as well as Nigerian Professional Football League coaches, Fidelis Ilechukwu of MFM FC, and Kabiru Dogo of Nasarawa United.

NFF Pays Tribute To Late Paul Hamilton

Federation Cup, NFFThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has paid glowing tributes to former Nigeria coach, Paul Hamilton, who died in Lagos after a protracted illness.

The NFF described Hamilton as a hard-working and passionate administrator for his selfless contribution to the development of football in the country.

The late coach played for the Senior National Team in the 1960s and early 1970s.

He later coached the Super Eagles during the qualifiers for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Hamilton also led the Super Falcons to the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cups.

Africa To Get More Space In FIFA Competitions – Pinnick

pinnickPresident of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Pinnick, says plans are ongoing to get more space for African teams in FIFA competitions.

The newly elected executive member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed that the number of teams in CAF competitions would also be increased.

On the development of football in Nigeria, he gave assurance that Nigerian referees would be given their pride of place in the comity of nations during his tenure.

Mr Pinnick made the remarks when he visited the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in Asaba, the state’s capital.

He thanked Governor Okowa for his support in the development of human resources in the state, south-south Nigeria.

“l am in the state to say a big thank you to you and the people of the state for your encouragement and support for my election,” the NFF President said.

Governor Okowa, on his part assured Pinnick that his administration remains committed to the development of human resources and sports infrastructure in Nigeria.

He congratulated the NFF President on his election into the CAF Executive Committee, and his appointment into the FIFA Organising Committee.

“We give glory to God for your success in your election. I believe that when God has blessed a process to be, no one can stop it. I want to urge you to continue to look up to God and stay committed to your duty as you move on.

“We as a state look forward to greater things that will come your way but be rest assured that we will continually give the best of our support. We are confident in your ability and understanding of the game of football and we believe that you will perform very well.

“Always look up to God and stay committed as you move up in sports administration. We pray that God will guide you to remain focused in carrying out your new functions; when you progress, Delta State is progressing,” he said.

Pinnick’s CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria – Dalung

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - DalungThe Federal Government has congratulated the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, on his success at the just concluded Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee elections held on Thursday in Addis Ababa.

Pinnick defeated the incumbent Benin Republic’s Moucharafou Anjorin by 32 votes to 17 to emerge the third Nigerian to serve on the executive seat of CAF.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, in a statement expressed delight that a Nigerian has joined the inner caucus of CAF after many years.

A Big Achievement

“When I became Minister, I asked why there was no Nigerian representative in the Executive Committee of CAF. With a population of over 170 million people, there was no way the CAF Executive Committee will be constituted without Nigerians as stakeholders.

“I encouraged the Federation to try and ensure that they are represented hence our support for the President of the NFF. This is a big achievement for Nigeria and our re-entry into African football politics,” Dalung said.

The Federal Government also congratulated Mr Ahmad Ahmad, following his election as the CAF President, but maintained it support for regional interest.

“Nigeria’s position remains in favour of our national interest but the will of the people has prevailed and we congratulate them all,” the statement said.

Mr Dalung advised the newly elected board to be magnanimous in victory and run an all-inclusive government.

FG Releases Funds To Pay Super Eagles, Falcons Outstanding Benefits

Federation Cup, NFFThe Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has released the mandate to the Central Bank of Nigeria for payment of $1.173 million to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

This was revealed in a statement by the Director of Information of the OAGF, K.N Offie, on Friday.

The amount is meant to pay outstanding winning bonuses for Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup qualifying matches and for the Super Falcons’ participation in the 10th Women’s Africa nations Cup.

This is in furtherance of the approval from the Minister of Finance for the said amount to be paid.

The mandate which is a sum of 358.015 million Naira, has been paid by the CBN as at Thursday December 15, 2016.

Similarly, another mandate for the sum of 113.820 million Naira, has also been released by OAGF for the payment of wining bonus for Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup qualifying matches as well as Super Falcon’s participation in the 10th Women’s Africa Nation’s Cup.

This amount has also been paid to NFF and is equally sequel to the approval of the Honourable Minister of Finance.

Reps Ask NFF To Urgently Pay Falcons’ Allowances

Lawmakers, Super Falcons, NFF, House of RepresentativesLawmakers in the House of Representatives have condemned the non-payment of allowances to the players and officials of the Super Falcons, who recently won the Africa Women Cup of Nation (AWCON) championship in Cameroon.

Two weeks after their victory, the players took to the streets of Abuja to protest their unpaid allowances.

In a passionate debate on a motion sponsored by Representative Ayo Omidiran on Thursday, the House criticised the deplorable manner the players were treated.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema and a member from Edo State, Seguius Ogun, also expressed displeasure with the act.

The lawmakers have called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to pay the backlog of unpaid allowances without further delay.

They also mandated the House Committee on Sports to ensure the implementation of the resolution and report to the House in four weeks.

At the end of the session, the legislators gave the Super Falcons a standing ovation for winning the African title for the eighth time.

Dalung Says VOA Interview Was Edited Out of Context

solomon-dalungNigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has cleared the air on his interview with the Voice of America, Hausa Service where he was reported to have said the Super Eagles do not need to attend the 2018 World Cup since they can’t win the trophy.

Mr Dalung said that the interview which he granted four months ago was misinterpreted, insisting  he has total confidence in the team to pick the sole tick in their group for Russia 2018.

He said that the interview was edited midway into a more comprehensive conversation and the act has sent a misconception about his commitment to the ongoing World Cup campaign.

“The statement was taken out of context. It was part of a comprehensive interview I granted four months ago when I was reacting to the status of African nations in global competitions and also football administration globally. Where do we stand?

“The question also was that whether Nigeria or any African country is likely going to host the World Cup. My reaction was what was captured.

“Unfortunately, the interview did not avail those who listened the complete narrative so that they can benefit from the background with which the response was taken,” he explained.

He maintained that the Nigerian government and the Ministry of Sport remain committed to ensuring that Nigeria re-positions itself as a global player in football and lead other African countries to the top of the game.

He urged Nigerians to support the Super Eagles to ensure that they do not lose the momentum that is in their favour in the 2018 World Cup qualifying series.

He added that his selfless contributions so far in Super Eagles’s quest for qualification, particularly ahead of the away win in Zambia, contradicts the impression that he was not in support of the team.

Dalung Says Siasia Has Not Resigned, Gernot Rohr’s Appointment Unofficial

Solomon Dalung, Samson Siasia, Gernot RohrThe Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, says he has not been officially informed of the appointment of a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The NFF had in early August, appointed a German, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Eagles, despite Mr Dalung’s preference for a local coach.

He claimed that Coach Samson Siasia, who led the Nigeria’s U-23 football team to win a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, had not resigned, contrary to media reports, although his contract with the NFF had lapsed.

Siasia had told reporters that he had on August 27 resigned as the coach of Nigeria’s U-23 football team because of what he describes as “a disrespectful system”.

Mr Dalung’s frowned at the treatment meted to Siasia by the NFF, alleging that they withdrew his official car in Abuja while he was battling to secure a medal for Nigeria in Rio.

While hinting that he had met with Siasia on Monday, he said Nigeria needed him ‎in football development.

Samson Siasia
Coach Samson Siasia

The Sports Minister further pointed out that even if the NFF would not re-engage him, the Federation should at least, give him some peace of mind to enable him make his contributions in a personal capacity.

He noted that it would be sad to have such coach leave Nigeria for another country out of frustration, just like many athletes did as witnessed during the Rio Olympics.

Abysmal Outing Of Team Nigeria

Dalung also cleared the air on the $390,000 donation to Siasia and his team by a Japanese surgeon, saying that after he met the donor in Rio, he was convinced there were no strings like match-fixing attached to the donation.

He attributed the abysmal outing of the Nigerian Olympic contingent to late release of funds and inability to develop home-grown talents.

The Minister emphasised the need for the National Sports Commission which he said was unfortunately scrapped by a government committee that recommended merger of ministries.‎

He was at the State House on Tuesday in Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s outing at the ‎just concluded Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Since Team Nigeria were able to win bronze medal in football, Mr Dalung urged the President to host the team.

President Buhari Receives FIFA President, Infantino

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency in order to fast-track football development in the country.

The President said this at a meeting with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, at the State House.

For about an hour, both men rubbed minds on how to develop the game of football in the country.

Mr Infantino also met with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and members of the National Assembly and also highlighted the need for football development on the continent.

The Senate President assured the FIFA delegation of the support of the National Assembly. He, however, appealed to the Nigerian Football Federation to put its house in order.

 

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu Buhari
L-R: President of Nigeria Football Federation Mr Amaju Pinnick, FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino, Secretary General of FIFA Ms. Fatima Samoura and Minister of Sports and Youth development Solomon Dalung at the State House

Gianni Infantino was led to the Presidential Villa by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick as part of Infantino’s two-day official visit to Nigeria.

He was in company of FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and executive board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In a press conference afterwards, the FIFA President said that Nigeria should be a model for the rest of the world in football development.

He said that the football federation needs to work with relevant authorities in order to achieve its goals.

The FIFA President said that his visit to Nigeria has given him a chance to meet with 18 presidents of African football associations who converged on Abuja to meet with him on how to develop football in Africa.

The 40-year-old assured Nigerians of his support for the growth and development of the round leather game in Nigeria.

The NFF Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, has described the visit of the FIFA President, which is also his first in Africa as an epoch event.

He says it also shows the hard work the NFF has put in place in developing football especially at grassroots level.