By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has insisted that Nigeria’s government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, has a say in the running of football in the country and how the national teams are being managed.
Dare, who stated this while fielding questions from Nigerian sports journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said as far it is the standard practice around the world, the federal government will continue to ask tough and relevant questions to ensure that Nigeria has effective teams.
He directed the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF to restore sanity to football by ridding the national team, Super Eagles of agents and hangers-on.
“We are a member nation in FIFA. So, we have a seat there and it is our business to know how we organize our local football team, the Super Eagles and make them effective. We can take that decision through the instrumentality of the NFF.
“That is what we are doing and it is not different from anywhere. Just check everywhere, and we are very clear about our role. But to say we can’t speak about our football, is not yet in the book.
“We believe we can partner with NFF and other federations as the case may be, all in the interest to make sure that we have the best team whether in athletics, football, volleyball, basketball and all the games.
“NFF must get rid of hangers on and individuals who do not have clear mandates and are around the National team. These are agents, scouts etc. They should operate outside the perimeter,” he warned.
The minister added that henceforth the Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr and coaching crew will be made to interact with Nigerian media about his team programmes while the Ministry and NFF will stay at the back.
He said the invitation of foreign based players to the national team would now be based on current form and performance, saying foreign based players performance should be properly monitored before being invited to the team.
“We would work with NFF going forward to make the technical adviser and his team interact with Nigerian media regularly.
The Ministry will write NFF and let them know that it is time to start that process. Let the ministry and NFF stay back and allow professional sports writers, who Nigerians believe and trust them to ask questions.
That is what is done everywhere. After every EPL match, a table is set for the coach and his team to face the media. That is the tradition and we are going to return that.”