Finidi Took Right Decision by Resigning, says KFA Administrator

The Administrator of Kwara Football Academy, Mallam Bako Ibrahim, talks with OYEDUNMOLA OLAKUNLE on various issues in the Nigeria’s sports sector, operations of the Academy, among other issues.

How would you describe the Nigerian sports sector in terms of funding, administration and politics?

In Nigeria, the private sector’s involvement in sponsorship is minimal, and corporate bodies are not investing enough capital in sports. This lack of financial support is a significant factor behind the setbacks in sports organisation and management in the country. So far, I think I would score us low when it comes to sponsorships or when it comes to sport development

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Some have said there is a need for us to strengthen our local leagues, what is your take on this?

The only way the Nigerian Premier League can grow and develop is by strengthening our local leagues. In those days when we used to have Leventis, Concord, Sharks of Port Harcourt etc, football then attracted individuals, attracted people and everybody want to go to the stadium, everybody want to watch our league. In those days, bunch of players are made up of local players or local products or local material. But today, what are we seeing? Another thing entirely. So like I think, we have to go back to our league. If Nigeria can revitalise its local league, Nigerian football will undoubtedly flourish and meet global standards.

Nigeria is bless with many talents in football but you discovered that we are not getting the best out there. Why is this so?

Numerous factors contributed to this situation, this includes the country’s economy which is one of the key reasons. Many players are more focused on making money from football rather than being willing to make sacrifices. Not many of the players genuinely want to play football, their interest in football is driven more by what they believe they can gain from it, rather than a true passion for the sport. So I think this is one of those things affecting our football, so we need to go back to the drawing board. If our economy is better, things will get better. For instance, some players are on the pitch but they don’t have good boots and nobody is ready to buy boots for them. Some are there, they had not taken any meals in the day, so when they go for training, you can’t get their best. Unlike in those days when we were playing football, our economy, everything were okay. Furthermore, we live in a global world today where many people are concerned about improving their manhood, and this often requires money. This financial focus is one of the factors affecting our football in Nigeria.

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Has KFA produced students playing locally, nationally and even internationally?

The academy has produced numerous stars at the local, national, and international levels. We have many of our players, playing their football abroad and we have many of them in our local league here, both at Premier League, National League and NLO. Presently our academy registered at this year’s NLO and we came fourth, which I think is a very good result. First time we are playing NLO and our academy came fourth. So far so good,we have many of our players plying their trade or their ball career, both within and outside the shore of this Country. Of course, the Nationwide League One (NLO) is a crucial part of Nigeria’s football structure. Moreover, the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) is the top tier, followed by the Nigeria National League (NNL) as the second tier, and the Nigeria Nationwide League (NLO) as the third tier.

How would you describe the non-qualification of Nigeria in the World Cup?

We can still qualify; we are not yet out of the race. If we are lucky to win all our matches and we are fortunate that this country leading us are playing draw or winning their matches,I think we can still make it. So personally,I don’t believe we are out of the race,we are still in the race”

Why do you think Nigeria lost the match?   

 Nigeria’s defeat was primarily due to the formation Finidi used, which was challenging for the team to execute effectively. Mostly, there is a crisis in the team with the coach having problems with some players. You know a house that is not built on a solid foundation will definitely crack. So I think our major problem is between the coach, the players and the NFF, I think that is just why we are almost losing out of the World Cup.

Just like Sunday Oliseh barely one month ago, Coach Finidi George resigned. How do you assess the situation?

I think Finidi took the right decision because the NFF are ready to employ a Foreign Technical Adviser. He is the Head Coach and they want to bring a Technical Adviser who will be his head. Secondly, they are planning to reduce his salary or his wage, so I think on the basis of that, it is good he resigned from the assignment so that his profile will not drop.

Surprisingly, a controversy started between Osimhen and Finidi. What do you have to say about the situation?

We haven’t heard much about Finidi’s weaknesses; it was Osimhen who spoke up, making it hard to assess the situation accurately. I have not heard anything as regards the matter and Finidi has not said anything about all the accusations raised by Osimhen, so that is why I find it difficult to say anything on that.

What is your assessment of how the NFF handled the situation amid all the controversy?

The NFF is the foremost soccer governing body in Nigeria, with authority over all football matters in the country. I believe their recent actions will help Nigerian football return to its peak. They are the highest soccer ruling body in Nigeria, so anything football is under their purview. So personally, I think with the pragmatic steps they have taken now, Nigerian football will come back to its best. The steps they are taking now is okay, it is good for the country and definitely, we will get back on our toes and we are going to achieve something.

About Olakunle Oyedunmola

A Veteran Journalist | Scriptwriter | Clergy | Photographer | Videography | Businessman | Actor | Contractor | Motivational Speaker | Scout and currently the Chief Correspondent at National Telescope Newspapers.

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