The Federal Government has called on the Executive Leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to, as a matter of urgency, build sufficient will for the development of football in the country
The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh gave the charge today in his office at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja when he engaged the Board Members of the Federation, led by its President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau in a fruitful deliberation on issues surrounding the development of the Nation’s Domestic Leagues
Senator Owan Enoh stated that the government was concerned about this, especially considering the fact that football has remained one of the key sports that not only attract national attention from across the country irrespective of tribe, religion or ethnicity but most importantly, provide opportunities for inclusiveness through the participation of our teeming youth, both male and female in the game
That is why he stated further that, it is imperative for the Federation to pursue with passion and intention, the development of the game at grassroots level to provide more opportunities for job creation, poverty alleviation as well as unity and safety of the country.
He explained that the followership, interest, popularity and excitement that football generates around the country necessitates that careful and intentional actions must be taken for its growth.
We must therefore be open to dissecting some of the burning issues in our football with a view to proffering workable solutions for them, he said
The Minister, who informed that the meeting was a family one, called on the Board to ensure they give themselves a timeline for the completion and harmonisation of all pending issues that hinder the development of football in the country.
We must be open to dissecting some of the burning issues in our football. This is what this meeting is all about. It is important for us to know where we are as a fooball nation, what prospects we have as well as plans we have put in place. This sector is one where everyone is interested and wants to know what is going on. We should address topical and trending issues such as the 10 Year Football Master Plan implementation, membership of the Executive Board of the NFF, and the image of our league, amongst other issues. We must look at global best practices obtainable in thriving nations and leverage on that to build our leagues to international standards
Senator Owan Enoh informed that the Ministry will continue to play its supervisory role in ensuring that Sports Federations work round the clock to enable the country produce teams that can stand out in all its local and international competitions.
The Minister who expressed government’s desire to see NFF develop football from the grassroots and also ensure adequate training on football to international standards, charged them to intensify campaigns that will create public awareness on all the league matches.
He therefore called on the football body to work assiduously towards the realization of the policy thrust of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary overseeing the Ministries of Sports and Youth Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar said that the meeting was conveŕned to provide for opportunity to brainstorm on issues and challenges affecting the growth of football in the country with a view to finding sporting solutions to them
He assured that the Ministry will continue to ensure the implementation of the policies, initiatives and programmes of the Federal Government that will help drive the development of sports with a view to bringing about economic growth of the nation
In his brief at the meeting, the President of NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau informed that the immediate challenges bedevilling the football body is how to ensure that the Super Eagles begin the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign on a strong note come the month of November, adding that everything would be done to see the Super Falcons qualify for the Women Olympic Football Tournament in Paris next year.
He assured that NFF as a body will work assiduously to ensure the development of the games at the grassroots level, promising further that the body will not only ensure high performance at the 2024 African Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire but also embark on sensitization and creation of public awareness about the activities of our leagues