The list of Super Eagles players for the Nigeria/ Sierra Leone back-to-back fixtures came out a week ago with little or no surprises except for the number of natural midfielders invited. Oghenekaro Etebo of Galatasaray, Turkey; Frank Onyeka of FC Midtjylland, Denmark and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo of Glasgow Rangers, Scotland were the middlemen but it was a shock that Ramon Azeez of Granada CF, Spain and Kelechi Nwakali of SD Huesca, Spain could only make standby list while Mikel Agu was completely out of the team.
The inconsistency of manager Gernot Rohr in the invitation of players is evident and it is sad he is not answerable to anyone except people he engaged himself to work with him and not the football federation. However, in any establishment, the structure determines the day-to-day flow of the organization.
Big organizations either public or private have various departments working in respective areas to boost efficiency. The Nigeria Football Federation has a board that takes executive decisions while the secretariat is headed by the General Secretary who runs the daily routine of the body. However, apart from this, the NFF has sub-committees that give directions on various aspects of the game. Last week, 18 sub-committees and four Ad-hoc committee members were rolled out but most of these committee members retained their respective seats.
It was indeed a long list, a very bloated one that sparks suspicion on how effective they will be. Ordinarily, these committees are supposed to play advisory roles for the federation but why the names and committees were so long remains a big question the federation’s chieftains should answer. The facilities and technical study group committees had 16 members each while match commissioners committee had 14 members. Interestingly, the facilities committee is to be headed by a representative from the North East, meaning this could be anybody and not someone with the competence for that position.
This clearly shows there was a deliberate attempt to balance the appointments and made it cover all parts of Nigeria. In addition, it is also safe to say the federation did not put merit first in the setting up of these committees. Before talking about the size, it is pertinent to ask; does the federation have the resources to take care of 18 sub-committees and four ad-hoc committee members? To inaugurate these committees, only one or two members from each of the committees will be invited. For the last committee inauguration held in Abuja in 2018, the NFF is yet to pay some of those who made the trip to Abuja.
Many, if not all the committees, are redundant as decisions in the federation are taken by the board members in conjunction with the secretariat head, Muhammed Sanusi. Earlier in the year, former international and a member of the technical sub-committee, Mutiu Adepoju, disclosed that the body did not hold any meeting in over two years. He stressed that the body was not part of technical decisions made by the NFF despite being named and inaugurated. Adepoju’s disclosure was indeed a revelation as stakeholders were made to believe that the technical body under Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, assisted the technical department and the Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr.
There were some people regarded as co-opted members and no explanation was made and there was a body regarded as Football committee in the NFF. A football sub-committee in a football federation? Sounds strange! At the 2018 World Cup, the NFF took all the heads of committees to Russia and there were financial issues along the line during the Mundial. A member of one of the committees said it’s a ‘still birth’ because the committees are dead from the day of announcement or at most inauguration. The appointments are done perhaps for political reasons and not for the effective running of the country’s football.
The NFF do not need this bloated list to function. At most, seven sub-committees can assist the secretariat and the board when necessary. What we have now is the usual occurrence and it has to stop.
A former NFF board member, Mr Chris Green, and former international, Taribo West have already come out to reject the appointment. It is expected many others will follow. The NFF should learn to imbibe what obtains in other developed footballing nations to boost its operations. Nigerians are sick and tired of the antics of the federation in the running of the round leather game in the country.