Nigeria Football Federation inaugurates foundation to care for ex national team players
By Taiwo Adelu
London, July 11, 2019 (AltAfrica)-After many years of neglect and suffering, help has finally arrived for ex Nigerian footballers. They are the yesterday’s heroes who after serving their father’s land meritoriously winning medals and laurels, became a victim of global economic recession
But now, things are about to change in their lives. The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has inaugurated a Foundation to help out former Nigerian footballers who are in dire need of support.
Many Nigerian footballers, especially those who played for Nigeria in the 1970s to 80s are suffering one plight or the other with no financial capability to bail out themselves and alleviate the suffering.
One of them is Olympian Peter Fregene, former Green Eagles’ goalkeeper, who had been paralysed and bedridden crying for help in the past 17 years until recently, when businessman Femi Otedola undertook the treatment of the Delta State-born former player at the Reddington Hospital located in Ikoyi, Lagos state.
The same Otedola donated $50,000 for the medical treatment of ex-footballer and former Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Christian Chukwu who is currently receiving treatment at Wellington Hospital in UK.
Alternative Africa reports that many of the ex players are currently begging for the attention and asking to be supported.
This may however be a major reason the leadership of the NFF decided to set up the Foundation with the mandate to essentially raise funds for empowerment initiatives for ex-international players by way of training and skill development
The Foundation is headed by Mr. Mohammed Edewor, with Mallam Danladi Bako, the Kogunan Sakkwato and former Director General of the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, as the vice chairman.
There are also His Excellency Silas Agara, the immediate past deputy governor of Nasarawa State who had earlier served as Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the same State, as well as Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan, Chairman of the House of Rep’ Committee on Youth and Sports Development in the eighth session of the National Assembly
Other members of the foundation include football –passionate businessman Yemi Idowu; former Nigeria international player and President of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers, Tijani Babangida and; foremost sports journalist and editor of Saturday Vanguard newspaper, Mr. Onochie Anibeze.
Acting President of the NFF, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi will serve as Adviser/NFF Liaison to the Foundation, which will adopt and adapt the governance structure of the English FA Foundation, with appropriate modifications to comply with the laws of Nigeria and take care of the local situation and environment.
The NFF has also in line with its Statutes set up a Member Associations Adhoc Committee, saddled with the responsibility of maintaining excellent relationship with its 44 affiliate bodies.
Acting President Akinwunmi said it is important to have such a body in order to constantly and firmly keep the affiliate bodies on the same page with the supreme –governing body for the game in the country.
Akinwunmi also disclosed that the membership is composed of the current zonal coordinators, with himself as chairman, while Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Chidi Ofo Okenwa, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Emmanuel Ibah and Babagana Kalli are members.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, will serve as secretary of the committee.
Alternative Africa understands that all the Football Associations in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are members/affiliates of the NFF, alongside the Nigeria Referees Association, Nigeria Football Coaches Association, Players’ Union (National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers) and the Leagues (Nigeria Professional Football League, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women Football League and the Nigeria Nationwide League One).