Nigeria International Football Expo Participants call for change

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Nigeria Football Federatio

Nigeria Football Federation

Speakers at the 2nd Nigeria International Football Expo were in agreement on the need for changes in the administration of football in the country.

The event which was held at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja focused on Nigerian football, past and present and participants made observations that could serve as guides for the future.

President of the Nigeria Football Federation was duly represented by First Vice Chairman, Mike Umeh who left the event soon after presenting his address, but the Media Officer Ademola Olajire stayed back to absorb criticisms and defend the football house.

Speaking on the theme: Nigerian Football, Rewind. Pause. Play; Wole Olagundoye recalled the heights Nigerian football attained in the past and the rot that has been witnessed for sometime now. He pointed out that the country’s national teams now lacked players with the desired depth, they lacked quality technical officials and the win at all cost syndrome which results in the use of over aged players for age group competitions.

“Once we stop cheating on age and repackage our domestic league where players can transit from clubs to the national teams, then we will start producing super talents. We need to invest in grassroots football and produce cult figures in our clubs who will proceed to the national teams,” he counseled.

Paul Onwuanibe of Landmark Group, UK said football was not just a sport but also an entertainment tool. “I think what the Nigerian game requires is packaging and the platform to showcase the product. He said the media was an important partner in this venture which he said was highly lucrative.

“We talk about football in this country as if we care about it. The Nigerian game would have grown to the heights attained in Europe but we failed to adapt to change when the rest of the world was changing. We need change.”

In his key-note address before his sudden departure, the NFF President, Aminu Maigari through his vice, Umeh said the football house had initiated some reforms in a bid to re-strategise. He said the emphasis had been placed on football academies, appointment of coaches for the various zones and through the FIFA Goal project. six standard pitches would be constructed in the six zones.

The CEO NIFEX, Justin Ofor was sober in his welcome speech. He recalled the 1994 era when Nigeria was ranked 5th in the world and charged all and sundry to join hands to unpause the game in Nigeria.”

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