Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Minister for Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, has said that football governance in the country required an urgent surgical operation to stop incessant embarrassment to the government.
He said this in Abuja while explaining the inability of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to settle the victorious Super Falcons after winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations football competition held in Cameroon.
Dalung, who spoke to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhhammadu Buhari, said until the NFF was overhauled, the football governing body would continue to embarrass the government.
He said the issue of non-payment of the allowances to the players and their coaches was not properly handled by the football governing body insisting that the footballers would have understood the position of the government if the NFF had properly engaged them.
Dalung said: “The problem can be compartmentalized into two things: one is the inability to approach government with request for intervention because what we need is intervention. The budgeting of the sports is done by the administration. Ours is intervention, just like when you have a fire disaster, if they have requested for funds in time, the process would have been easier and I think that was not done.
“And after the triumph it was not managed properly. There are issues of pending salaries of the coaches. The coaches have not been paid for a long time. The coaches too have these grievances alongside, I think it is a complex situation but the entire governance of football deserves an urgent surgery. If that surgery is not done we will always live with the embarrassment.
“I am talking about the governance of football administration in Nigeria. Government has to do the surgery because they have been at the receiving end of the embarrassment. We must be prepared to do this to save the future of football in Nigeria. We must come together to find solutions to see how these issues can be tackled.”