Former Nigeria Football Federation Secretary, General Musa Amadu, an aspirant for the post of the Nigeria Football Federation presidency, talks about his plans to revamp Nigerian football, and why members of the current board aspiring to succeed Amaju Pinnick won’t change Nigerian football in this interview with JOHNNY EDWARD
How do you intend to bring back the glory days of Nigerian football?
For you to bring back the glory days of Nigerian football, it will take a lot of hard work. It is not something that can be done with a short-term plan. We have to set a new foundation. We must start from the grassroots and discover and nurture raw talents. This will form the foundation of the glory you want to bring back. Having said that, the glory days of Nigerian football dates back to 2013 as far as I’m concerned, when Nigeria last won the African Cup of Nations, in South Africa. Given the talents we have, there is no reason why we should not be the top ranked team in Africa – a position which Senegal currently occupy. If you look at the talent export, which Nigeria churns out to the other parts of the world, other African countries cannot match us. We just have to start all over again, but we must do it in such a way that it will be success-driven, with no pressure on the team to win the AFCON in 2023 or 2024. The idea will be to raise a team that will win the AFCON in 2025 and go to North America as African champions.
Other competitions we will take part in will be all developmental and it is for us to present teams that will compete in the nearest future. It is the players from these brackets that will form the foundation of what we hope to achieve and this applies to the women’s football.
What are your other plans for women’s football at senior level?
For the women’s game, other African countries have caught up with us and if we don’t take time we will lose the position we currently occupy and probably chase the game on the continent. So, we need to seriously consider the way forward. South Africa, Zambia and other countries are doing well at the moment. Before, we used to have the monopoly in Africa, but it is no longer so. We must look at how to run the women’s game and see how to get back to the top in African football and also challenge for honours when we complete on the global stage. We will take steps to correct why we are not doing well at that level. It is not enough to just take part in competitions and crash out after the first round.
Which plans do you have for the Nigerian Professional Football league and the Nigerian Women’s Football League if elected?
My aim is to give power and integrity to our leagues, creating a brand for the NPFL and NWFL capable of standing on its own. We must nurture a rebirth of traditional football values in the running and administration of club football in the country.
Also, we will empower the state Football Associations financially and help them individually at building infrastructures and having financial independence. We must make the Nigerian National League and the Nationwide League, as well as the women’s lower division true brands that can self sustain, through effective governance and resources and that will be pathways to national team participation.
How do you intend to source for funds?
We will ensure that sponsorships of our games and the involvement of the corporate sector is such that there is mutual benefit for all parties to grow their companies as well as grow Nigerian football. We will also provide credible incentives for private sector willing to in our projects and products.
There are complaints of too many overseas-based players in the national teams. What do you think of it and do you plan to follow the same pattern?
I’m not the coach. That is left for the coach to decide. He must look at the best players to represent Nigeria and win laurels for the country. We will also give opportunities to all the players that have the qualities to feature for the national teams.
Why do you think you are the best man to run Nigerian football?
I am the best man for the job because I have identified problems and issues bedeviling Nigerian football and we need to start taking stringent steps to correct them.
There are so many things being done wrongly. We know obviously that our football has been on the decline since 2014 on-and-off the field of play and the people who ran down our football during this period are the top contenders for this position (NFF presidency). They are all part of those that sold this country. We have failed to qualify for the World Cup, a huge disappointment to this great country. What is it that they were unable to do during their tenure that they want to correct now? Or they want to continue this rot? We have to vote in people who have credibility, transparency and have passion to do things the right way. And that is why I promise to get our football back on track again.
What are you chances of winning in the forthcoming polls?
My chances are bright. I will try as much as possible to convince the state football associations to vote me in because if we have to get it right, we must ensure that we start developing football from the states and from the grassroots. We must get the state associations actively participating in this project. They need to make out how they can work with me to get new sources of funding so they can be fully involved in the growth at the grassroots level. We want to do things differently. If any of the contenders I mentioned get elected, nothing will change in our football. Nigerian football will be worse for it.