The leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and that of the Iraqi Football Association will interface and cross-fertilize sometime next month with a view to exploring avenues for greater cooperation and collaboration in the football sphere.
Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, during a courtesy visit to the Ambassador of Iraq to Nigeria, His Excellency Mr. Anwer Saeed, President of the NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau expressed the keen desire of the NFF to collaborate with countries with pedigree in the game to ensure real growth for the Nigeria game from the grassroots.
“Our country has a solid pedigree in the game of football as well as over 200 million passionate football followers and stakeholders. We are aware of the fact that the people of Iraq are also very passionate about the game of football. It is important to seize the opportunity to explore areas of cooperation and collaboration that will benefit our two nations.
“Football is that big unifying factor that keeps getting bigger and stronger in holding the world together and assuming a greater role in international relations. It is also a soft power with a booming economy, and collaboration is needed to accomplish great things and attain higher levels.”
Iraq’s senior men team, nicknamed the Lions of Mesopotamia, won the Asian Cup in 2007 and have won the Arab Cup four times, and the country of 44 million people is known for its passion and high-decibel support for its football teams and clubs.
Responding, Saeed congratulated the NFF President on his victory in the elections and assured him that the Iraqi Football Association would be delighted by the offer to explore ways of greater collaboration, given Nigeria’s accomplishments in the game globally. He also mentioned the fact that a number of Nigerian footballers are presently plying their trade in the Iraqi league.
Also on the courtesy visit were the NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi; Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire; Director of Competitions, Ruth David; Chief Protocol Officer, Emmanuel Ayanbunmi and Special Assistant to NFF President, Abubakar Barde. Mr. Ibrahim Al-Badri (Consul/Administrative Manager) and Mrs Sakina Al-Khalifa (Secretary to Head of Mission).