NFF Must Explain Recent Football Failures And Open Their Books – Sports Minister Dare

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must “render account to Nigerians” and provide “a written explanation” to the federal government detailing why the country’s national teams have been woeful at recent tournaments Sports Minister Sunday Dare has said.

The Minister also expressed reservations about the potentially fraudulent state of the federation’s salary arrangements where employees with expired contracts continued to draw payments and demanded to be furnished with the NFF’s nominal payroll.

Dare made the demands at a meeting with the leadership of the NFF in Abuja on Monday where he gave an ominous sounding warning to the Amaju Pinnick led federation saying the Ministry will “need to take very difficult decisions.”

The country has witnessed a disastrous downturn in fortunes this year with the Super Eagles, who finished third at the 2019 AFCON and began qualification for the 2021 edition with a bang last week, the only shining light.

The Flying Eagles, were dismal at the U20 World Cup in Poland, the Super Falcons failed to qualify for next year’s Olympics amid a power struggle that ultimately led to the resignation of Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby and the Golden Eaglets, record winners of the U17 World Cup, were ousted in the quarterfinal of the tournament in Brazil.

A scarcely believable sequence of disasters orchestrated by Imama Amapakabo saw the country get knocked out of the WAFU B Nations Cup, fail to qualify for the 2020 CHAN tournament and get knocked out of the U23 AFCON in Egypt in the group stage which killed their Olympics hopes – all within the space of a few weeks.

The net effect of these disturbing developments is that football development in Nigeria has suffered a severe setback and Dare said that NFF owed the federal government “a written explanation to the developments of our teams failing in four major tournaments.”

“From stock-taking it is now time to render account to Nigerians,” he said.

“We need to run a reality check. Nigerians are not happy with our state of football. We must start with the football administration. Nigerians want to see us working proactively to get things working again.”

“I am not saying we should win at all cost, beyond identifying various issues what do we need to do to deal with these issues. The board has a responsibility. I am asking the board to do surgical examinations of what has gone wrong with our football,” he said.

NFF president Amaju Pinnick blamed the federation’s failings on a series of external distractions which he said created a toxic situation which has negatively affected the federation.

The Minister’s angst, however, wasn’t only limited to the failings of various national teams as he expressed concerns about the state of the Nigeria Professional Football League.