By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Former Super Eagles coach Adegboye Onigbinde and former assistant coach of the Nigerian national team Simon Kalika have both expressed deep regret over the suspension placed on Nigeria from all international competitions.
The world soccer governing body on Wednesday axed Nigeria from international competitions for what it perceived as government interference in the running of the game.
Nigeria Football Federation boss Aminu Maigari was arrested by men of the State Security Service last Friday for misappopriation of funds in the NFF and also his administration blamed for the gross indiscipline demonstrated by players of the Super Eagles over their monetary welfare before the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and just few days before the Round of 16 game against France.
A three-man delegation comprising of Amos Adamu, Bolaji Ojo-Oba and Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo flew out to Brazil on Monday to parley with chieftains of FIFA in a bid to avert the ban.
Reprieve seemed to come the way of the executive congress of the NFF when on Tuesday, the deadline given by FIFA for Nigeria to clean up its mess expired and no ban was forthcoming.
However, the judgement day was only postponed and the duo of Onigbinde and Kalika spoke tersely to Completesportsnigeria.com on the new development.
“What does FIFA want from Nigeria?,” Onigbinde began rhetorically.
“FIFA have always insisted that football issues must not be settled at civil courts and that governments should not interfere in the running of football.
“What is happening in Nigeria is tantamount to government interference because the Federal Governmemt give the NFF money to prosecute their programmes.
“Government should stop giving the NFF money. The NFF should also not run to government for funds but generate their funds when they want to prosecute any engagements or projects through the private sector.
“The consequence of this is that the ban will affect the State FA’s, Local Associations and Clubs in Nigeria,” the coach who led Nigeria to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan reiterated.
Kalika was brief in his reaction to the FIFA ban while speaking with Completesportsnigeria.com.
“This always happen in Nigeria and it is not good for the development of the game. The focus should have been on the Nations Cup and how to consolidate on the building of a stronger national team. Many people do not realise that Nigeria have the potentials to be the best national team in the world.”
An elective Congress has been duly convened by the NFF for August 26, 2014 and only decisions and persons elected then will be considered legitimate.