President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday warned the officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to behave themselves by organizing useful sporting competitions.
Speaking on the backdrop of incessant crisis rocking the leadership of the federation, the president admonished the Nigeria’s football administrators to be proactive as he received president of the world football ruling body, Gianni Infantino in Abuja. “We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game.
“Majority of Nigerians are married to football. In the rural areas, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch, Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators, popularly known as ‘I better-pass-my neighbour’ to watch the game. Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers,’’ the President said.
In his own reactions, FIFA President, Infantino advised authorities in Nigeria to pay necessary attention to maintaining the infrastructures and also find a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at match venues. The visiting FIFA president however denied knowledge of any crisis in NFF. “I foresee Nigeria as bedrock for the development of the game in Africa, however infrastructure, stability and security are needed to make this happen, ’’ he said.
“It was an honour for me to have this opportunity to meet with Mr. President and discussed football development in Nigeria. I have had some intense discussion on football in Nigeria and Africa we discussed how we can best develop football in Africa because there are talents, potentials and passion to do great things in football in Nigeria and Africa.
FIFA will soon decide to increase yearly contributions and investments by four in football development as we can do a lot.
“When it comes generally to football development in Nigeria, work needs to be done in organizational structures, setting of training centers and better framework; a lot can be done.
I don’t think there is any crisis in football management in Nigeria. There is an elected president in place and he is functioning. In a big country like Nigeria you are bound to see opposition that you see. If FIFA will be increasing more football teams in World Cup competition, I will propose two more team to come from Africa”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, the FIFA officials were accompanied by sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and President, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Gumel at the event in the Federal Capital Territory.