If there were to be a popularity contest in Nigerian football today, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh would certainly take some beating, but as the momentum gathers ahead of next year’s NFF polls the Niger FA chairman could either be a major king maker or even throw in the hat for the top post.
But does he have the millions to stand up to the others warming up to lead Nigeria football from next year?
Despite a highly publicised petition against him, Fresh on Tuesday drew the Who is Who of Nigerian football to the final of his ‘Fresh Football on The Plateau’ Tournament in Jos.
The guests’ list had more than half of the NFF elective congress, four executive committee members as well as club owners’ executives led by Danladi Isaac.
“A movement is growing,” exclaimed a stakeholder after coming across photos from the event in which many of the dignitaries were all happily decked in colourful uniforms displaying ‘Fresh’.
From very humble beginnings in a family of butchers, Fresh’s growing influence in the last three years has come from his holding down two top posts on powerful referees appointment committee and the NFF technical committee.
His accessibility and willingness to be part of the daily lives of stakeholders, big and small, have further stood him out from the crowd.
Little wonder then the title ‘Sardauna Kwallo’.
But after all said and done, he would need a promoter with a big pocket to hand him a blank cheque should he finally decide to go toe-to-toe with incumbent Amaju Pinnick, a man he has long supported, or Aminu Maigari, the former NFF boss who had previously taken him under his wings and positioned him for what he has become today.