Executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Friday unanimously endorsed the position of its President, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick in support of a two-year FIFA World Cup cycle, tabled before the FIFA Congress at its meeting three months ago by FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.
At a meeting held via video conference, the Board toed the line of Pinnick and argued that the 166 countries that already supported the idea (out of FIFA’s 211 members) were in order. President of the Confederation of African Football, (CAF) Dr Patrice Motsepe and football legends Lothar Matthaeus and Gary Lineker are among the leading campaigners to half the current four-year cycle of football’s flagship competition.
“With the World Cup being played every four years, the opportunity to have this experience is too rare and spread over too great a time. Whole generations of players miss out, sometimes because of one match potentially decided by one incident…the World Cup is played every four years for historic reasons linked with the Olympic cycle…it has been like this for almost 100 years…we can add one more month every four years to organize the most beautiful competition in the world and find ways to protect the players, clubs, leagues, federations and Confederations’ interests and this is neither irrational nor absurd.
“It is a fact that competing at the highest level helps the less developed countries to raise their level. It increases their experience and helps them to learn from mstakes. It is also a key way to bring a country and its key stakeholders behind an objective; including the fans, the sports authorities and also governments,” Pinnick told an online publication, cajnewsafrica.com on Friday.
The NFF supremo, a member of the 37-member FIFA Council that is the highest decision-making organ for world football, also insists that a two-year World Cup will hasten the infrastructural development of host nations – which would be more this time – and also create more wealth, lead to more FIFA projects, enable more footballers to play in the World Cup, enable more FIFA World Cup appearance for star players and enable more winners of the coveted, 24-karat gold trophy.
“In 91 years of the FIFA World Cup, only eight coutries in all have emerged winners. With a two-year cycle, that number would be overtaken quickly. Also, we had a great player like George Weah who couldn’t play in the FIFA World Cup, ditto for Abedi Pele and Anthony Yeboah. African superstars like Jay Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu could only play in three and Lucas Radebe played in only two. A player of Hadji Diouf’s quality played in only one. With a two-year World Cup, players would have more opportunities.”
Table Tennis: Taofeek Wins CRD Novelty Tourney
By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
Wale Taofeek of CRD Club emerged champion of the CRD Table Tennis Open tournament.
The final which was decided at the Table Tennis court of CRD Estate, Lugbe in Abuja, saw Wale Taofeek thrashed Sunny Wachukwu 3-1 to be crowned champion.
The chairman of CRD Table tennis club of Abuja, Jude Okonkwo, while speaking to LEADERSHIP sports after the final match, said despite the club is two years old, they have been able to compete and win some competition, adding that plans are in top gear to host more tournaments in the nation’s capital.
“CRD Table Tennis Club, is two-year-old now, one of our players who is celebrating her birthday today, wants to make the day memorable by inviting players from other clubs to share playing ideas to see how they can improve on their performances to its full capacity.
“Over 20 players competed in which at the end of the day CRD Club won the novelty contest, hopefully we will organize such competitions, so as to improve our style of play and boost confidence among ourselves” he said.
He further stated the need for the development of table tennis at grassroot” we need to develop the sports at the grassroot that is where we can get talents, create the passion in the children and nurture them to become future champions for the country” he concluded.