The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday acceded to the directive by Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare to submit a written report on the performances of the various National Teams in recent weeks.
Dare had demanded a “written explanation” for Nigeria’s woeful performances at recent tournaments and asked to scrutinise the Federation’s books at a meeting with the NFF’s leadership on Monday.
The NFF submitted a 15-page report on the “issues and the forces at play” to the ministry and praised the minister’s move to demand accountability even as it stressed that it is “absolutely impossible” to have won all the recent tournaments which it said were “mainly and strategically developmental”.
“It was a good move by the Honourable Minister to request for the report. As he said, there has to be stock-taking and after that, accountability. The NFF is enamoured by the move and we have submitted the requested report,” the federation said in a statement on Tuesday.
“For us, there is nothing to hide. We have detailed all the issues and the forces at play, and explained that in so much as these tournaments are important, they are mainly and strategically developmental. Even at that, we approach every match/tournament with the intention of winning, but it is practically and absolutely impossible based on indices, records and scientific laws of probability,” President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said on Tuesday.
The report signed by Mr. Pinnick detailed issues of funding (inadequacy and late release of same) and the environment in which it has had to operate for the past 18 months (with the Federation’s leadership distracted by numerous antigraft investigations and court summons) as core reasons for the poor outings of the Super Falcons, CHAN Eagles, Golden Eaglets and Olympic Eagles in recent international matches/tournaments.
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While acknowledging the importance of the qualifying matches/tournaments in which these teams participated and fell short, the Federation defended the technical crews of the teams and justified why they are the best for the positions as at the time they were hired by highlighting their track records.
Pinnick also stated that the best performance indicator for any country in international football is the A team, in this case Super Eagles, which in recent times drew with five-time world champions Brazil and Ukraine in friendlies, and defeated Benin Republic and Lesotho in 2021 AFCON qualifying matches. These, after finishing third at the first-ever 24–team AFCON in Egypt this year summer.
Moreover, a high number of the players in the present Super Eagles squad passed through the various developmental teams, showing that Nigeria is moving in the right direction.
The NFF went ahead to map out strategies for better results going forward, including but not limited to a revamp of the NFF Technical Department; improved supervision of the teams by the NFF Technical Committee; open and transparent process to select new head coaches for the teams affected; early preparation and prioritization of tournaments; synergy between the Ministry and the NFF to get approved funds released early enough for adequate preparation of teams participating in major matches and competitions and; to work even harder at securing partners and sponsors to support the programmes of the National Teams.
On the issue of the nominal roll, which has also been submitted, the NFF clarified that there is no person on its payroll whose contract has expired and that every individual on the nominal roll has specified schedule of duty as prescribed by the Federal Civil Service or in line with his/her contract.