The President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick , says that managing football in Nigeria is a tough call that requires patience and perseverance.
Pinnick made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after he watched the derby between Ikorodu United and MFM FC on Sunday at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos.
NAN reports that the Match Day 5 fixture between the debutants in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) ended goalless.
“Directing the affairs as the head of football administration in the country is not an easy job.
“I must be honest with you; it is not an easy job to be superintending 11 national teams in Nigeria with each coming out with a different
programme and schedule.
“When you hear of camping, people just think it is assembling players and that is all. It is more than that; it involves so many things
“Camping involves paying the hotel bills, transportation, players’ welfare and the ad hoc staff and many other expenses. Nigeria’s
football requires patience and high leadership qualities.
“Leadership requires qualities to give it what it takes. Leadership is not about everything good, it sometimes comes with a gun at your
head,’’ he said.
Pinnick said that the economic recession has affected the running of the football house, adding that the football body was almost left with
nothing in its purse.
“The harsh economic crunch has affected our spending, which is not limited to us only; it happens across board; we are almost left with
nothing in our purse.
“We have to be scrutinising our camping now because this year is a busy one for the federation, so, we have appealed to some of the
coaches to shelve their camping for now.
“There are many competitions this year; the qualifiers for AFCON, Olympics, U-21, Falcons and others; all these competitions
are capital intensive, so, we need to re-arrange our priorities.
“We have appealed to some of the coaches to bear with the football house for now so that we will be able to stablise and get our acts together,’’ he said.
Pinnick also disclosed that the insistence of Kaduna as the venue for the AFCON qualifiers between the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt was not the sole decision of NFF.
“The decision on the venue for the match between Eagles and the Pharaohs was not made by NFF alone; the National Sport Commission (NSC) also has an input.
“We should note that the Eagles have never lost a match in Kaduna before and that is a pointer that the venue was well conceived.
“Another issue is that in terms of followership, support and proximity, Kaduna Stadium is a better choice because we have fans
travelling from neighbouring states such as Kano that come to watch.
“On the pitch, we have an inter-ministerial committee that had looked into making the facilities ready for the qualifiers and we have the backing of the Kaduna State Government too.
“All these are enough to make Kaduna the choice for the match,’’ he said.
Pinnick said that NFF was considering bringing football games back to Lagos which had been the cradle of football in Nigeria.
“We are considering Lagos for future matches because it is the cradle of football in Nigeria and note that Lagos now has a good developmental plan for sports.
“Lagos State now has a standard sports development programme and structures enough to have a national match played there.
“Considering the last marathon in the state which was well organised, many of us are surprised with the level of coordination Lagos State put into the hosting.
“Even the last National Sport Festival hosted by the state which was won by Delta, my state, was a better managed sports festival.
“Lagos has many good facilities scattered across the state, especially the Teslim Balogun Stadium which I regard as a wonderful structure to host grade A matches,’’ he said.
Pinnick also said that he was happy to see that two clubs based in Lagos State now were playing in the premier league this season.
“It’s a good thing to see two clubs from Lagos State playing in the premier league now; you can see my excitement about it.
“You can see that I enjoyed the atmosphere here and I have to leave the state box to go and watch on the pitch so as to enjoy the derby.
“I think it’s great to see them play and the standards are quite high,’’ he said.
Pinnick also said that the Teslim Balogun Stadium pitch which had hitherto been a synthetic pitch needed to be changed to grass.
“However, to really consider Teslim Balogun to host matches, there is an issue that borders on the pitch which is synthetic and which needs to be changed to grass.
“The synthetic grass at the stadium is regarded as Grade II which is the best all over the world but many of our professionals don’t like
playing on synthetic turfs.
“The Teslim Balogun Stadium pitch can be relayed and changed to grass.
“The synthetic pitch cannot be a waste because it could be laid elsewhere maybe on a practicing pitch.
“Lagos is a beautiful place with core fans, and I know that they enjoy football; I am particularly impressed with the developmental programmes of the Lagos State Government,’’ he said.