As the tussle for the apex leadership of the most vibrant Sports in the Country thickens and the Big Players and gladiators pitching their tents with one camp or the other, the ordinary Sports and Football enthusiasts and supporters are left only with permutations and wishes for a new era and a sincere plan for development and progressive upward positive growth for the game we all love so very much.
As the days draw near and with all the Politicking, Court Cases and intrigues all litter the environment, I as a stakeholder also thought it wise to lend my voice in submitting my very opinions and suggestions as to a way that the incoming principal of our Football Administration can consider as he pilots the affairs of the Football management and development going forward.
Firstly, the very important task ahead and immediately after the Elections which must be undertaken is the Job of uniting all parties in one Purpose for Unity and Progress of Football.
This is very important because in this side of the World, elections are always a keen and emotional contest that tends to brew divisions and animosities during and after it. A handy example is the forth coming Nigerian General Election and all the tensions it emits from all quarters and angles. Many friends are losing their friendships because of Political affiliations and inclinations. However, luckily our Football Administration elections is not this soaked and the job for this Prestigious Office seems to underline itself and I opine that only a capable and knowledgeable personality be elected in that leadership office.
The next thing I would love to suggest for the incoming Principal is the recognition of these group of People (I call them Components) that’ll help him, administrate and run the Football Federation smoothly and being all encompassing.
The profound recognition and incorporation of the following Bodies to his inner caucus and decision making will ultimately in my view propel him and endear him to success as an Administrator.
1. The Club Owners
2. The Football Coaches Association
3. The Referees Association
4. The Administrators
5. The Supporter’s Club.
THE CLUB OWNERS
This is one of the most important groups that you must keep close to your arm if you must make giant developmental strides in NIGERIA FOOTBALL.
The sole reason is because they already own structures on ground and have made huge investments which has already given Football a foundational base they build on as far as development is concerned. They own platforms that has and still affording Talents Opportunities to showcase their gifting. They’re employers of huge labour in the Football Labour Market and Contribute immensely to the Financial Business of Football in the Country. You can’t relegate them at all.
As I know their National Slogan is “Talent developers”, and rightly So. Football coaches are almost like the Heartbeat of Soccer. They’re the ones who identify Talents, nature, train and breed them to national pride and international heroes we all celebrate. I have had to watch many documentaries of great players, you’d always hear them give credit to coaches that helped them during their developments at one state or the other. One of the FIFA goals for global soccer is DEVELOPMENT especially at the grassroots and that’s why FIFA recognises the roles Coaches play from the point of identifying a talent to the level of world and international stage. Coaches must be part of the decision making process as far as the Federation desires to chart a new course.
You don’t instruct them to ‘act’ after you’ve taken decisions, They must be part of decisions, since they’re the ones in the “Fields” plus various Grassroots and they know the difficulties of developing talents raw from the Streets. They must help in designing workable programmes that will chart progressive new courses for the new leadership. This should not even be an argument.
THE REFEREES BODY
These are the custodians, and the enforcement department of the rules, laws and order. And any Society or organisation without Law and Order will ruin itself. The referees body are as important as any other department in the football development business. Many of the times they’re at the receiving end of the negative emotions from other stakeholders in the industry but studies have shown that in many instances they’re the less protected and more exposed Species in the Soccer World.
I think the incoming leader of the NFF must have a caucus that has the prominent recognition for the referees and uttermost respect, if we must upgrade to what we see in other climes as far as football development is related.
Administrators are Professionals trained in Specific Fields either through Proper Classroom education, or through other methods of Training to be able to function this Particular field. In almost all the Offices you go there must be an Administrative personnel there. However Football Administration is a little different and perculiar than other normal Administrative roles in offices. This is why it is important that the new and Incoming President of NFF must get on him approved and Time-tested Seasoned Football Administrators if high repute for the Development of this round Leather game in our dear Country. It is not enough to have Government Administrative staff (these are Civil Servants) that can posted anywhere any day, but you must have those who have been trained in Football or Sports Administration, that will know what and what needs to be done in specific areas and Cases to be able to archive a high Development goal in Football as it’ll benefit the Country at Large.
THE SUPPORTERS’ CLUB
Football is Entertainment, and a Job, so the simple question is who do you entertain when you Play Football? Answer is The Fans. The Fans are the Supporters of a Team, or lovers Football in general. They’re as Important in the Soccer Business and Sports Business Generally. In many climes, the Fans Pay huge Money, and make Huge Sacrifices to come see their teams Play. They Cheer and Support, they make the games Fun and above that they are part of Proper Football Management and Development, as their Support most time encourages the Players to Perform optimally and they help make a Team gain more Popularity and increase in Value.
The Supporters’ Club are a very vital component of any serious team that wants to Upgrade and Progress their Development. So the Nigerian Football Supporters Club Should also be Incorporated into the NFF Board and Decision makings, as that will help Motivate the Fans as to aspire to identify with the Teams of their Choices. They will develop means of a return of good old days when our Stadia used to be parked full for School Competitions, Grassroots Tournaments, League Matches and National Team engagements.
All these are achievable if we elect a Leader who’s Selfless, humble, Articulate and is able to harness the very Diversities available and use it to our advantage to the Growth and Development of Football (Soccer) in our Nation. But the Supporters’ Club have different factions.
This is my Take!
By Ezindu Okay-Lawrence (ACFF),
Grassroots Development Coach/ Coaches’ Instructor, Administrator and Officer.