Amaju Pinnick’s NFF

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L-R: Marketing Manager, Brian Munro Ltd, Abayomi Ajao; Award winner and Managing Director, SKG Pharma, Okey Akpa; and National Sales Manager, Brian Munro Ltd, Paul Omekwe, during the Campari Distributors Award/Prize Giving dinner in Lagos

By Tayo Balogun

If everything goes as planned there would be an election for a new Board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on the 20th of September this year. I cannot claim to know those who are contesting for the position of the President of the body nor those aspiring to get on the new executive committee. I really don’t have much to go on except what someone who, properly speaking, should know told me. What is certain is that some gentlemen want to push Amaju aside.

According to some documents in circulation, Amaju Pinnick has failed very miserably as NFF President. His board is accused of being ineffectual. One of the documents supplied by a ‘Good Samaritan ‘ (at least that’s what he calls himself), attributed our recent failures in age group competitions to the incompetence of the Pinnick-led board of the NFF. The body, according to the document, is also guilty of sacking Stephen Keshi and replacing him with an incompetent Sunday Oliseh. The sins of the NFF president include causing the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 AFCON competitions…

I am one of those who believe that Amaju Pinnick has done enough to deserve another term in office. Not because he didn’t make mistakes but I know that he has, as it is, grown on the job. For instance, while he came into office as a strong believer in home-grown coaches, he is concluding his first term knowing that perhaps such idea should tarry awhile. And even when you consider his four-year tenure as a whole, he has recorded more successes than failures. The NFF under his leadership has become more solvent. So much so they could prosecute our match with Seychelles without assistance from the Sport Ministry.

Under Pinnick ‘s watch the influence of our country within CAF and FIFA has grown substantially. My intention with this piece is not to defend the NFF President. I guess he could do that adequately. Newspaper stand discussions reveal that he has powerful enemies and that he has enough armoury to wage a successful war of self defence. It’s like both parties knowing what is at stake would be careful not to go to full-scale katakata as they know that destruction of both is mutually assured should anyone step out of line.

My interest is our football and it’s development. I have not had any discussions nor met with Amaju Pinnick in his four years as NFF president except once when he called from London to complain about an article I wrote criticising his policy. That was during his first month in office. He sounded imperial. Like he owned the press. I told him off. And that has been my only contact with him as NFF president. I do not have any personal relationship with any member of the NFF board except for Seyi Akinwunmi who I sometimes see at football events in Lagos. I respect him and Shehu Dikko who I know will one day lead the NFF. So this is not an endorsement of Pinnick nor his board. If he is voted out democratically all well and good but I know his team has done a fairly good job running our football. They are better placed to lead us to the next level.

SERENA WILLIAMS UNRAVELING…

Let me start by saying that am not and have never been a fan of Serena Williams. But this contribution is not a celebration of her misfortune. It is to put a lie on the claim that she was a victim of sexism and racism. The facts on ground do not support that claim. Her coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted to doing sideline coaching. That was an offence. She smashed her racket, another misdeed.

Then mother of all crimes she called Carlos Ramos a cheat and a thief. If you do that with the EPL you probably won’t play football for a long while. She was therefore justifiably docked a point and a game. Maria Sharapova (a woman) has been similarly punished. So also Grigor Dimitrov, Nalbandian (non blacks) have been punished.

Fact is Serena Williams wanted so much to win but Naomi Osaka had other plans. But make no mistake about it, Serena Williams, is undoubtedly, the best female tennis player of all time. Nothing more to add.