Monday, 2nd October 2023

Ex-footballers condemn appointment of non-professionals as managers

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
29 May 2021   |   4:05 am
The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) have frowned on the continued use of ‘novices’ as sports administrators, noting that the engagement of non-core professionals...

football photo: Annos/ Pixabay

The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) have frowned on the continued use of ‘novices’ as sports administrators, noting that the engagement of non-core professionals in administering football has been counterproductive and continues to hinder the growth of the game.

The former stars, however, applauded the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), led by Amaju Pinnick, for recently appointing one of their members and serving general manager of Enugu Rangers, Prince Davidson Owumi, as the chief executive officer designate of the League Management Company of Nigeria (LMC).

Speaking when principal officers of the body visited Owumi at his Enugu residence yesterday, President of PFAN, Tijani Babangida, a former Super Eagles star, expressed happiness with the NFF leadership for engaging a core professional for the job.

He said going by Owumi’s experience and antecedents as a player and football administrator, “I want to assure the NFF leadership that he will deliver the goods.”

According to him, “We have come here to see one of our own, Prince Davidson Owumi, the (CEO) designate of LMC, and we want to thank NFF for that wonderful decision.

“Our union, the PFAN will stand by him, give him 100 per cent support to succeed in office.”

Babangida regretted that over the years, the nation’s football affairs had been manned by non-professionals, adding that it was unfortunate that people from other professions such as medical, legal and engineering have taken over football administration to the detriment of the core professionals.

He said PFAN was in Enugu for its South East inaugural meeting attended by its national officers, BOT chairman and secretary.

The PFAN president disclosed that maiden zonal meetings have been planned for the six geopolitical zones by the union’s national secretariat, adding that the idea is to sensitise officers on direction and modus operandi of the rejuvenated and unified union.

“PFAN decided to visit some legends and elders of the game in the coal city of Enugu in the persons of Chairman Christian Chukwu (MFR), Man Mountain Emmanuel Okala (MON) in continuation of their 70th birthday celebrations, Ex International Stanley ‘Stainless’ Okoronkwo, Dominic Nwobodo and former Rangers strongman, Mike Ogbuodudu, among others.

He added: “PFAN is calling on all members of the football fraternity to double efforts in collaboration to chart a path for meaningful development in Nigerian football at all levels.”

Earlier, Owumi had thanked the union for visiting him in Enugu, saying his appointment as LMC operational boss is for all PFAN members, noting the position could be a way of testing his capability, stressing that with the support of the union, he would have no option than to deliver.

Owumi said: “I want to thank you most sincerely for finding time to visit me, and with your support we are definitely going to take football to a greater height in Nigeria.

“I need your support because NFF wants to use this appointment to know if former players have all it takes to deliver. So, it’s a test of might for us.”

NFF’s First Vice Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, who was also present at the event, expressed his delight that at last, the players have buried their hatchet and come together as one united family. He assured them of NFF’s readiness to always partner with their organisation.