Onigbinde fears football masterplan will fail if neglected by incoming government
• Cautions against surrendering football administration to government
Former Super Eagles Coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, has warned that the 10-year football masterplan submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday may fail to achieve its aim when the current government leaves office.
According to Onigbinde, the project will only succeed if Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, and the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, put machinery that will ensure it is implemented by their successors.
Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, Onigbinde, who lamented that he was sidelined in the writing of the football documents despite his continuous call over the years for Nigeria to have a viable football plan, said the document should be made available for Nigerians to know and monitor its budget, as well as police those managing football to ensure they stick to the guidelines.
“The 10-year football masterplan is a good step in the right direction, because this is what I have been clamouring for over the years.
“But it surprises me that I was not carried along, because I have written series of documents on how football will develop in Nigeria. I will not be surprised if some of my ideas are on that document.
“I believe I was not involved in this football masterplan project because they know I will not receive any bribe or influence to scuttle the job. But I believe the document can only see the light of day if there is a solid policy put in place for incoming officials soccer to follow.
“10 years plan is a long project and for it to be effective, all hands must be on deck.
“In other countries where things work normal and the citizens work to develop any project they met on ground, it would not be an issue to follow the 10-year football plan.
“But in Nigeria, where policies can be changed by different individuals in power or government, it is vital a solid foundation is laid for succeeding governments to follow for the masterplan to be successful.
“If Nigerian football remains same way in the next five years, that means this exercise is in futility,” he said. Onigbinde also warned the NFF to desist from involving government in football administration, saying that FIFA statute and guidelines do not allow it.
“Submitting the football plan to the government, according to FIFA statute, is wrong. Some countries have faced sanctions from FIFA because of government intervention in recent times
“Although FIFA respects various governments, they recognise their officials in football gatherings before the sports minister. NFF can handle football development affairs without calling on the government.
“When I was called to take over Shooting Stars on a rescue mission, I told the then management to give me the full chance to run the club.
“I set up a financial plan that asked club supporters to pay certain amounts of money in different categories. These ranged from premium to gold and it was successful.
“If football-loving Nigerians are made to pay within the range of five to N10, 000 depending on the category they want, and they see that the money is used well to develop soccer in the country, the NFF will not have to go to government to get funds.”
“Imagine two million Nigerians keying into the initiative; you will see the results. The stakeholders in Nigerian football should be careful the way they involve government in football,” he added.