Two-time Nigerian coach, Adegboye Onigbinde and former Green Eagles left winger, Adokiye Amiesimaka, declared on Monday that the country should use the period of suspension by FIFA to give football a new lease of life.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that world soccer governing body on Monday announced the indefinite suspension of Nigeria from all football matters.
It cited interference by the government for the suspension.
Both Onigbinde and Amesimaka said they saw the suspension coming with the several unresolved issues confronting the game in the country.
They were exacerbated with the court nullification of the Aug. 26 election and the sports minister’s decision not to relegate any club from the 2009/10 Premier League season.
In a telephone interview with NAN, Amiesimaka ‘congratulated’ FIFA on the suspension.
“I thought we should have suspended ourselves before now,” he said.
He said although there was nothing wrong with government’s involvement in the administration, the government should only be a partner and not have overall authority as it was the case now.
He said the Decree 101 was still in place, which gives the minister of sports overall authority over Nigerian football.
Amiesimaka blamed the sporting press for failing to highlight the drift in the game in the country as sports was a serious concern which should not be toyed with.
He expressed surprise that sports development was not in the Vision 20:2020.
The former fiery left winger and newspaper columnist called on President Goodluck Jonathan to scrap the ministry of sports and set up an implementation committee for the overall administration of sports.
He said the implementation committee should establish a legally constituted National Sports Commission (NSC) with its powers properly spelt out.
He said the NSC should be headed by a Chairman with a definite tenure of office, adding that the proposed NSC should be development-oriented.
He said the implementation committee should incorporate the football association, adding that all state associations should also be incorporated.
He added that membership of the FAs at the national and state levels should be open to the public and private sectors.
The former Rivers State Attorney-General said the present football structure in the country, which breeds corruption, required reform.
Reacting to the suspension, Onigbinde said it was time “to start the recovery of our football”.
Noting that the major problem facing Nigerian football was administration, he said all football bodies starting from clubs, local governments, state associations and the national bodies must be independent.
He explained that the FIFA statutes stipulate that all football bodies must be able to take care of their affairs without interference from a third party.
“We have to sit down and run our football as it should be run, we have to get it right and
learn to do it right.
“We must be prepared to face realities,” said the 1984 and 2002 national coach.