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Written by Aderonke Bello

I want to congratulate you on your appointment as the number one sports administrator in Nigeria and I wish you a productive regime in the office.

That said, sir, permit me to call your attention to certain things I believe, are not properly done or are overlooked, in football and basketball especially – the two most popular team sports in Nigeria.

First of all, there is an urgent need to look into the issue of contract signing for the victorious U-17 boys, the NFF said via a press release, they will not allow any agent to sign the boys. This is not in their remit. Making regulations and passing them [the boys] through their successive programmes of development is. According to global practice, common in England, one percent of player transfer transaction, goes into the coffers of the federation.

NFF’s responsibility and duty to the players, include discovery, development and nurturing, to enable them perform optimally for the greater good of the nation and themselves – which the players have done.

The players are entitled to sign pre-contract and professional contract agreements before and when they clock 18. The NFF’s proclamation is under guise that they don't want these young players, to sign slave contracts; which is no business of theirs. The NFF’s role during such transactions, should be to guide, advise and support rather than the indecent ‘backdoor football agency’ creation by the federation.

The NFF can only make laws as regards the legitimate age a player can sign a pre-or-professional contract and not indulge in player trading. To put this in perspective, it was widely reported in the media that the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick personally introduced Victor Osimhen to Arsenal FC. If true, it is illegal and fraudulent as he is not a FIFA Licensed agent.

The NFF does not have the rights to sell or stop players from signing for any club.

At the same time, the federation is allowing academies to do talent hunt programmes, with intent to take the young talents abroad. Just last week, an academy was in Abuja to do a talent hunt show; these are the people the NFF needs to look out for in order to protect the players, to avoid slave contracts. The regulations needs to be in place. Please sir, it will be beneficial to the players' careers and the nation to implore them to sign their International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Concerning the issue of kit sponsors, it is a shame that a nation as big as ours, the so-called giant of Africa signed a shoddy contract with sports apparel, Nike. Players attending tournaments without adequate kits, each got only a jersey which they have to wash and re-use for their next game. Adidas was our former sponsor with retainership fee while Nike is neither bringing money nor kits as recently and currently exposed. Sir, please investigate the Nike contract.

Still on the issue of sponsorship, the NFF claims Arik Air and Zenith Bank, were co-sponsors of 20 state FA chairmen, sent to London for a training clearly unnecessary. The federation claims to be broke but have the money to sponsor FA Chairmen on a training ahead of their Annual General Meeting. Is it to avoid impeachment or for acceptance as their Annual General Meeting beckons? The FA chairmen accepted, rather than ask the federation to use such monies to offset bills. The federation is broke sir; national team coaches are being owed salaries.

The NFF, playing to the gallery praised Arik Air for their sponsorship. Sir, kindly request proof of such sponsorship agreements.

lt is imperative the NFF creates an insurance policy programme for all athletes within its fold. This rises from a player - Gloria Ofoegbu, who got injured playing for Nigeria. The NFF neglected her and even denounced her claiming Ofoegbu’s injury was not resultant while playing for the Nigeria.

Despite many pleas, it took the effort of a ‘Good Samaritan’ to assist with expense of her surgery. Among many others, Ofoegbu suffers from a lack of adequate insurance policy for the national team players. Little wonder players prefer to stay back at their clubs than play for country as their injury will most likely not be treated during national assignments. Essentially, they devote themselves to their clubs than to country, with the former offering medical and academic benefits.

Basketball is the second most popular sports in Nigeria. Sir, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), is one of the poorest with little or no money attached to them. They are reaping the reward of their perseverance, determination, and love for the sport and their nation with recent successes, regardless of a lack of adequate investment and sponsorship. I suggest you deem it fit to support them and encourage future generations by allocating them adequate budget, facilities and other means to enable the federation develop the game in the nation.

Finally sir, since your appointment two months ago, we are yet to learn the policies you want to make for sports apart from fighting corruption in Nigeria. Good to know you have assessed equipment and stadium facilities. there is however, need for you to do more by first, cutting out social activities and settling down to get to work as we know that it took the president a long time to appoint ministers. By now we expect you to start putting committees that will work with you, guiding your sojourn during your time in office.


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Website development by KJK.COM.NG