Ibrahim Gusau: The First 100 Days
After the euphoria of his emergence as the new NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau has to hit the ground running to prove those who have questioned his capacity to deliver on the hot seat of Nigeria Football.
The national sport is in dire straits no thanks to the corruption and mismanagement that characterised the last eight years under Amaju Pinnick.
In the first 100 days in office, Gusau has to demonstrate he is his own man and not a willing stooge of the former President.
What we expect Gusau to do as he steps into office –
UNIFY AGGREIVED PARTIES
Gusau has to unite a seriously fractured Nigeria Football family that has been so sharply divided by his predecessor.
It is a daunting task, but the unity of Stakeholders is paramount for him to succeed.
Because of his selfish ambition, Pinnick birthed a rival players’ union to challenge PFAN, who have kept him on his toes through out his tenure.
PFAN is the recognised players’ union and the new President has to partner with it, those members who have misgivings with the management of their affairs have to ventilate such internally.
The once-vibrant Supporters Club has to also come under one umbrella for effective control.
Even the NFF Congress is sharply divided, but as a man of the people the new President is in a good position to ensure the unity of the highest decision-making body for Nigeria Football going forward.
IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH GOVERNMENT
The Sports Ministry is the supervising ministry of the NFF, which is first and foremost a parastatal of the Federal Government.
Under Pinnick, the FGN released outside the statutory grants over 16 Billion Naira to the NFF and as such it remains the main financier of football in the country.
However, in recent times the NFF and the Sports Ministry have been at logger heads over many issues.
The vexed issue on the front burner now is the Interim Management Committee (IMC) set up by Sports Ministry to oversee the NPFL, which has been taken many years backwards by the LMC.
The IMC is a drastic measure and can only be there to reposition the NPFL and after which the clubs will be the ones to run their own business as stipulated by the NFF Statutes.
It must be noted that the Sports Ministry has yet to congratulate Gusau and the new Executive Committee.
As a civil servant, Gusau will be expected to be more open and accommodating to Government particularly as the football federation continue to run cap-in-hand to Government for funds.
When the NFF receive money from the FGN, they are intervention funds, but when the same Government wishes to push its own interest in the NFF, it is interference.
BETTER REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS, NFF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
President Muhammadu Buhari has heeded the cry of critical Stateholders that both the NFF Executive Committee and NFF Congress be expanded for a better representation.
This directive has not been carried out by the NFF and the body language is the FA Chairman-dominated Executive Committee and Congress do not wish to give up their dominance without a fight.
The NFF have stumbled from one failure to the other because only one of their five statutory Members holds sway in both the Executive Committee and Congress.
GO OUT AND GET THE MONEY
With a depressed economy, the Government will not be expected to continue to support the NFF financially like it has done previously.
The new NFF must therefore go out and shop for collaborations and sponsorships to ensure their programmes are not hampered by lack of funds.
Both the marketing department and marketing sub-committee have to take in capable hands to bring in the cash.
Gusau must operate an open, transparent and accountable administration, what Pinnick woefully failed to do.
The NFF desperately need to regain the confidence and trust of the private sector, philanthropists and the general public at large. That was completely lost during the past administration.
RE-ORGANISE NFF SECRETARIAT TO BE FOCUSED, DYNAMIC, COMPETENT
There is an urgent need to do away with the current General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, who has been more political than competent.
A new GS must be dynamic, competent and some one who has already proved his mettle holding a similar responsibility.
This is also applicable to several other principal officers at the secretariat, which is the engine-room of Nigeria Football.
It is imperative that the NFF Executive Committee headed by Gusau do a serious staff audit for the secretariat to be more effective to deliver.
RE-ENERGISE ALL THE NATIONAL TEAMS
The national teams, from the Super Eagles right down to the national U15 side, have had a torrid time under Pinnick and that was reflected by the poor results they eventually produced.
The Super Eagles is the cash cow of the NFF and must be treated as that and that means their bonuses and allowances must be promptly paid.
Nigeria lost at least $12 Million when the Super Eagles failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
This revenue, if properly spent, would have gone a long way to transform football in the country.
The non-existent NFF Technical Committee has to be re-organised with immediate effect so that they will ensure the national teams get the proper support for them to succeed.
Adequate preparations for age-group national teams have to be restored as well as the financial incentives they enjoyed before the past administration scrapped them.