NFF BOARD MEMBER, EMEKA INYAMA, SPEAKS ON NEW-LOOK EAGLES…
A board member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), High Chief Emeka Inyama, has assured that Coach Stephen Keshi would soon come up with a formidable Super Eagles' squad that Nigerians would be proud of.
Inyama, who is the chairman of the Nigeria National League (NNL) board, expressed satisfaction with Keshi's decision to build his new-look national team on players that ply their trade in the domestic league.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Sunsports, the former Abia State commissioner for sports regretted that the myriad of crises, which engulfed Nigerian football for the better part of last year, made the NFF board to lose its focus, a factor that culminated in Nigeria's failure to qualify for some major international competitions in the recent time.
'We're back to the era of Clemence Westerhof, to build a strong national team overtime, which is why we're laying the foundation of our national team around home-based players,' Inyama began.
'Stephen Keshi is on course. If we did not believe in him, we would have been waiting for the foreign-based players. But today, Nigerians are appreciating his effort. All that the home-based players need is to be exposed to more friendly matches to help in building their confidence. If they can play together for a year or two, they will go places.
'It's very unfortunate that we were not able to qualify for some major international competitions in the recent past. I'm aware that Nigerians judged the NFF with those failures, but the board was bedevilled with crises both from within and outside, which really derailed its focus.
'However, I'm happy that those crises are over and a Reconciliation Committee, which I'm the chairman, has been set up. We're going to reach out to all the stakeholders. Football is a family; we should be able to work together as one. The game brings joy and draws great passion from people, so we should not brew war in the game.
'The NFF has resolved the many crises that have been drawing us backwards. We're now on course. At the moment, all our national teams are in camp working towards qualification for the respective competitions they are playing in. This time, we are looking good to qualify for as many international tournaments as possible.
'A study group has been set up to look at the problems of football in the country and give us a road map for the best way forward. Currently, the National Sports Commission is building a brand new secretariat for the federation. So, looking at all these, I would say that everything is looking good for Nigerian football at the moment. It's only good that people should allow peace to reign because nothing works in a chaotic situation.
'As for me, the Alhaji Aminu Maigari-led board is working. We're strategising on the best way forward for Nigerian football with less quarrel and less controversies. We're carving a new face of development for the game in the country,' he said.
As the chairman of the Reconciliation Committee of the NFF, Inyama assured that all the aggrieved stakeholders would be pacified for everybody to be happy by the end of the day.
'We're taking it holistically. First, we tried to find out who the aggrieved persons are, and we've succeeded in identified them. We're going to meet every one of them to look into their problems.
'Football is run through various organs. For instance, in the NFF, we have a lot of sub-committees. What some of these aggrieved persons need is recognition. They're part of the stakeholders in the game and we shall give them what they require. Some of them would be involved in the administration.
'It's not about making trouble all the time. The problem we have in Nigeria is the 'pull others down' syndrome, which we're determined to work on. For once, people should try and give football a chance in the country for us to see where it will take us. I believe that when it turns out well, everybody will be happy for it.'
Asked if he would resign should the Super Eagles yet again fail to qualify for next year's Nations Cup and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the accomplished sports journalist cum football administrator responded thus: 'I don't have to be a pessimist, we will qualify for the World Cup and Nations Cup. Why won't we qualify? We're working towards that and we'll get there.'