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Feature Opinion Update

NFF’s Corrupt Romance With Salisu Yusuf

The Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have again committed a foul, with a move indicative that this administration has no real intention of purging itself of the several corruption allegations hanging on its neck, atleast for the few remaining months and life-span of the current NFF board.

Pinnick has been called to question several times for graft, misappropriation and corruption which has dented the image of the Glass House and Nigerian football generally.

Unmoved by all those allegations about him and his office as well as the negative implication on the nation’s football, no other act or question of corruption within the football circle in the country has moved the recently appointed member of FIFA Normalization Committee, the situation for him has always been normal.

In September 2017, the Chief Coach of the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles B team, Salisu Yusuf (PICTURED), was caught on camera collecting a bribe stated to be $1000 in order to ensure two players were selected for the Nigerian team for CHAN including Kano Pillars captain, Rabiu Alli, to the 2018 CHAN team then going for the African Nations Championship in Morocco. Alli eventually made that team.

Following the incident, the NFF Ethics and Disciplinary Committee found Yusuf guilty of breaching the terms of his contract and subsequently banned him for a year with a $50,000 fine.

The discipline/punishment meted on Yusuf raised talking points as many expected a lengthy ban for the former Kano Pillars handler to serve as deterrent to the many alleged cases of bribery and corruption rocking Nigerian football from the national teams to the football clubs in the NPFL, NNL, NLO, NWPL and even the Nigeria Referees Association.

After serving the one year ban and perhaps paid the fine, Yusuf returned to coaching with Enugu Rangers, but frankly had no business returning to the Super Eagles set-up if we had an NFF that does not tolerate corruption, wear it as an attire and applies deodorant on it to make it attractive.

His return as the Head Coach of the CHAN Eagles since September 2021 and subsequent reappointment for the same team he fumbled in character and discipline few days ago only debases the anti-corruption stand of the NFF Technical and Development Sub-Committee who recommended him and the NFF Executive Committee who approved the appointment.

It is sad that an an institution like the NFF, which corruption should not only be fought, but must be seen to be fought has enjoyed an unending romantic relationship with Salisu Yusuf despite bringing the name of the federation and integrity of team selection at the national level to disrepute.

If the Glass House is transparent and has no skeleton in its cupboard, individuals who not only have the tendency to be corrupt but have been found and caught in the very act of corruption should not be elected, appointed or reappointed as though the country’s best are the corrupt ones.

Unfortunately, the NFF under Amaju Pinnick has been enmeshed in many corruption allegations that it lacks the character, integrity and moral right to bring it’s employees to book and when he cannot sweep it under the carpet, treats the matter casually and immediately reinstate them unabashed.

This high level board room negligence is gradually bringing Nigerian football to her knees.

In well-meaning countries, Salisu Yusuf would not have returned to the same position he was found guilty of corruption, but because this is Nigeria, anything can happen and nothing will happen, especially under the watchful eyes of Amaju Pinnick who sees nothing wrong about corruption, says nothing wrong about corruption and enjoys working relationship with someone not just alleged to be corrupt but caught in the act of corruption.

Nigeria football deserves better!

By Bassey Ibiatisuho


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