Weep for Glasshouse

After reading my piece on how monies have been severally misapplied or misappropriated by the current leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), to the detriment of players who at one point or the other represent Nigeria via any of the National teams, a popular figure in Nigerian football (not part of the present board) responded when we met, spontaneously.

He tried to defend NFF officials who would prefer to host litany of FIFA and CAF officials during its maiden controversial award than concentrate on developing or encouraging upcoming footballers in various age categories.

Intentionally, I allowed him to marshal out his points. When it appeared he has said all he knew, I simply asked him; ‘Why will an organisation which can afford to owe Players, officials, staff and attaché allowances and salaries on the defence of ‘no money’ claim, still occupy an old fashioned building (where they still pay for) as the chosen headquarters of its operations nationwide, barely five years after a more befitting structure was completed by the federal government and handed over to them?

As against what anyone could see in the new edifice located within package B of Abuja National stadium on a more spacious land which is now the ‘abandoned glasshouse’, the current two-storey tiny office block situated around zone 7 in Wuse is certainly a no-match.

NFF staff (senior, intermediate and junior cadre) daily squeeze themselves in a workplace mainly partitioned with all manner of wooden and aluminium tools.

Yet, Amaju Pinnick-led NFF Board who are only qualified to experience goodies, lodge in the best of hotels and hold their board meetings at the same. They mainly visit the ‘preferred’ glasshouse’ when there are financial-related issues to be attended to.

As I put this down, I was alerted of impending protest by Staffers of the country’s football house over their trampled welfare. Some of them, who prefer to go spiritual, are thinking of mapping out days for fasting and prayer.

Apart from welfare, the Nigerian football Staff are grumbling over many other undeserved treatments which they have been experiencing in the past three years.

The highpoint of its all was in Morocco, where they were shocked following alleged orders from NFF Supremo which forced some of them back to Nigeria with a claim that the federation lacked money to fund their stay in the North African Nation where the just concluded African Nations Championship popularly known as CHAN held.

But for reported intervention of a high-ranking board member, these set of NFF workers would have gone back to the airport imediately and fly back to Abuja en route Lagos.

Of course, the blame game appears to be over on who is actually responsible for very many administrative proceedings within this aspect of glasshouse, which went ablaze, less than four years ago, few weeks before the election that ushered in the existing executive board, precisely on September 30, 2014.

With many outside Stakeholders still waiting for Pinnick to lead others and relocate to forsaken Glasshouse, heavier and more impacting thunder, struck the old facility. The effect mysteriously wipped out supposed FIFA document. Who knows if it will be found again just as millions of Naira, abi dollars grew wings and never returned, many years ago.

The missing document led to inclusion of already ruled out Super Eagles defender, Shehu Abdullahi into the final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Algeria and Nigeria in Constantine. The ‘unforgettable’ embarrassment this particular act would have caused Africa’s most populous country could have been more if that game in question was the only encounter expected to decide Nigeria’s fate at this year’s mundial. Even at that, it remains embarrassing.

After three points deduction was made public by world football governing body, some five months ago, no one has heard of what has become the outcome of Barr Seyi Akunwumi-led probe panel, set up by Pinnick himself, days after. Has it not been swept under the carpet inside the ‘chosen’ glasshouse?

The only succour Nigerians desire could emanate from Federal Secretariat, where Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung has promised to dig deep into the matter if the ‘scientific’ football federation fails to do the needful.

From this same glasshouse which oozes out all forms of maladministrative tendencies, the participation of Nigeria’s under-20 Women team at the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup later this year, have already begun to experience hiccups following their reported inability to provide visa and other needed documents for Falconets head coach to travel and witness the draw ceremony which happened two days ago in France, venue of the championship which goes underway in August.
At some point, Minister Dalung couldn’t stomach this inept exhibition of sorts when he made it clear sometimes ago that those managing Nigerian football are not organised.

Back to when I started dishing out today’s delicacy, the respected football stakeholder who I told you of earlier and whose name I won’t mention here for obvious reasons, gradually withdrew from further reaction when I began to point out some of these salient issues which have continued to impede Nigerian football development under this NFF regime.

While our conversation continued, this same known Nigerian Soccer personality who couldn’t advance his initial idea stayed back where I met him. He only muttered a word later on in local parlance; nawa ooo!