The National Association of Nigeria Footballers (NANF) wishes to use this opportunity to salute the courage of Nigeria football stakeholders, investors and interest groups putting finishing touches to run a commercially viable private and independent league in Nigeria within the ambit of the law.
This was after the corruption-infested NFF failed to provide quality leadership in the last six years of the 30 years since the inception of professional football in Nigeria.
It was a cheering news earlier in the week when a group of private club proprietors under the leadership of distinguish senator Ifeanyi Ubah announced their intention to run a private and independent league.
The NANF is also aware that a former NFA chairman, a gentleman, business tycoon and a repository of football knowledge who broke into FIFA leadership in his mid30’s, is putting up a group of top businessmen and eminent Nigerians to run a private and independent league.
So also a core investor in Nigeria football, consultant and promoter, a businessman associated with the development and promotion of the league is putting up a very strong team of foreign and local investors to run a private and independent league.
Very sad that the government-owned clubs and their representatives who are supposed to champion the cause of renaissance of our leagues particularly the premier league joined the League Management Company(LMC) – a group of con men who hijacked the league since 2011 to further ruin the league in the past 10 years.
Corruption-infested NFF failed to provide quality leadership in the last six years of the 30 years of inception of professional football in Nigeria
The club representatives are placated with directorship on the LMC board in rotational basis and placed on a salary of 500,000 Naira monthly each, with these peanuts they sold their birthright of ownership of the league.
They join in the manipulation of results to favour their various clubs for who will be champion of the NPFL every season and the champion becomes the highest bidder.
That is the simple reason Nigerian clubs cannot stand the test of time in CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup because the best teams don’t emerge tops as club officials prefer influencing and manipulating match officials than the welfare of their players.
Unfortunately, government-owned clubs have paved way for unscrupulous elements to hijack our leagues due largely to gross incompetence on their own part.
For instance, Enyimba had an exceptional opportunity to lead the way in 2003 and 2004 seasons when they won the CAF Champions League back-to-back as the millions of dollars generated from the prize monies were sufficient to run a viable club independent of government funding.
TP Mazembe of DR Congo never had that kind of start-up capital.
The government club officials deliberately don’t see these clubs as viable ventures, rather they squander and divert revenues generated from the sales of their players to foreign clubs instead of reinvesting those funds in their clubs.
For instance, the current NFF president as chairman of Warri Wolves allegedly diverted revenues generated by the sales of Jude Aneke, Emmanuel Ehiosun, Sunday Mba and other high-profile players to his private pockets.
And sadly the leadership of the Club Owners Association who are supposed to be voice of the clubs have been conscripted into supporters club to the LMC, they are just there to clap their hands for the LMC to continue to ruin the NPFL.
The club representatives are placated with directorship on the LMC board in rotational basis and placed on a salary of 500,000 Naira monthly each, with these peanuts they sold their birthright of ownership of the league
The home-based players are at the receiving end of these atrocities, and have even lost confidence in themselves that they are not good enough to play for the Super Eagles as home-based players. This is a huge psychological problem.
Finidi George left Sharks of Port Harcourt and featured for mighty Ajax FC of Amsterdam same week with only one cap as a home based player with the Super Eagles.
Same with Etim Esin, Daniel Amokachi, Taribo West, Nwankwo Kanu, the list is endless.
This is the level Pinnick and his gang have brought our football to completely obliterate domestic football and rely on children of immigrant Nigerians to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The immediate solution is to resort to privately-run and independent leagues, this indeed was the concept of the founding fathers our professional league – late Nathaniel Idowu, M.K.O Abiola, Femi Olukanmi (all of blessed memory),Pa Arthur Kwame and distinguish senator Patrick Osakwe.
NANF salutes all stakeholders investing their resources and time planning to set up independent leagues and assure all of our maximum support.
BY HARRISON JALLA President (NANF)