The problems with Nigerian football in general

IT’S THE ADMINISTRATION, STUPID!

Bill Clinton won the American presidency with the slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid!” and I think the above slogan aptly describes what our problem is.

So here is my two-part blueprint for Nigerian football (indeed Nigerian sports in general).

1) Role of Government in Sports (2) The Structure Of The NFA

1) THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN SPORTS.

The role of government should be limited to sports development, creating an enabling environment and making general laws governing sports.

a)Sports development:

Government has no business funding, or running professional sports; rather the government should build gymnasia, lay quality football pitches and athletics tracks provide qualified coaches and instructors and provide modern sports equipment in primary and secondary schools. Indeed the government could use the national stadia at Abuja & Lagos, Liberty, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello stadia as sports academies for school children (where the best talent from surrounding schools can be exposed to the best instructors and equipment), in the mould of the National Sports Institute in Australia & the Centre for sports science in France, rather than allowing them to lie fallow. Professional sports can attract sponsors to fund them; it’s not that easy for school sports to attract sponsors (‘cos no stars), so the government should fund them.

Imagine the U.K government paying David Beckham match allowances and “winning bonus”. Just imagine the uproar in the British Newspapers. When there are schools and hospitals to build and equip etc, the government is spending taxpayers money to pay one millionaire footballer! Money that can save lives! In Germany sponsors provide money for such allowances and get publicity in return. The exact amount is agreed well in advance and, of course, the F.A renders account to the sponsors. The sponsors don’t want bad publicity so they provide the agreed amount. The players are also satisfied because they know they are getting what they’ve agreed to. In Nigeria the players are usually discontented, because they know that the officials usually steal money that has been allocated by government for allowances. The officials don’t have to render account to anybody because this is government’s money and therefore everybody’s/nobody’s money. This is the source of indiscipline, as the players believe that they do all the work, while the officials steal the money.

Government spends a lot of money training lawyers at the law school still Nigeria remain one of the lawless country on planet earth, training doctors still we have a very poor medical facilities now buhari is in hospital in a foriengn country etc and therefore the government should spend money to develop the next generation of football stars who would be independent and give back to the community, just as Kanu is giving back with his heart foundation.

b) The making of general laws:

There should be a law prohibiting the international transfer of players below the age of 16. There should also be laws detailing the minimum level of security and safety standards at sports venues (e.g. should tear gas be used within sports arenas) before a sporting event can take place. The sports ministry should prepare bills dealing with issues such as these (issues that deal with the general well-being of the Nigerian child/sports person), which the government would send to the national assembly to pass into law. The minister could also liase with sports ministers from other countries to ensure that we get their cooperation in enforcing such laws. There should be NO NFA LAW! The NFA was formed in 1945, with Pa Mulford as chairman; it predates Nigeria’s independence. Registration with the corporate affairs commission should be enough. (That’s why we don’t have an AIT law, an athletics federation of Nigeria law, and a Domino law). The idea of an NFA law is just a ploy by government officials to retain control of the NFA.

c) Creating an enabling environment:

This involves advising the NFA on the best hotels to use when our teams play abroad, giving advice and assistance when there is a security risk (SSS agents where detailed to follow the Eagles to Zimbabwe), motivating the players by giving deserving players national awards and hosting victorious teams to state receptions. This is because the Eagles represent The Federal Republic Of Nigeria and therefore must be helped by the government. This, however, is not an excuse for government to interfere in the running of the team, or the funding of the team. The government could also organise friendly matches on Independence Day and when foreign dignitaries visit. In doing this, the government would act like any other promoter or sponsor and would pay the NFA for the appearance of the Eagles.

With the above it is clear that the sports ministry is derelict in its duty. How many primary and secondary school sport stadia and gymnasia has it built and maintained? How many laws has it presented to protect the interest of the Nigerian sports person? Rather the ministry concerns itself with paying allowances to Jay-Jay Okocha and selecting coaches for the Super Eagles. (I’m still trying to understand how they can remove Patrick Ekeji, who has a master’s degree in sports administration & is responsible for the “TEAM NIGERIA” project, as director of sports and replace him with an agricultural engineer).

2)THE N.F.A
This should be composed of three main organs: – (a) the general assembly (b) the board (c) the secretariat
a) The general assembly: – composed of elected representatives of: i) each state football association (ii) the club owners association (iii) the referees association (iv) the professional footballers association (comprising both past and present footballers) (v) the sports writers association of Nigeria (vi) *the Nigeria police force (vii) the coaches association (viii) all past chairmen and secretaries-general of the NFA and past chairmen and secretaries-general of WAFU, CAF and FIFA, who are Nigerians (ix) the Nigeria football supporters club. *The secretary-general of the NFA also attends.

The annual general meeting is responsible for electing the chairman and the board of the NFA from amongst its members. *The secretary-general of the NFA and the police representative can speak on the floor, but cannot vote or be voted for. The AGM is also responsible for drawing up and amending the statutes of the NFA (with the advice of the legal dept of the NFA). It also reviews the audited accounts of the NFA for the year. An extraordinary general meeting can be called by a petition signed by a 2/3 majority of members (the EGM can also remove the chairman and board of the NFA). Notice of a meeting must be given to all members at least 4 weeks before the meeting. 2/3 of the members need to be present to form a quorum. Members shall also be informed of the agenda of such meeting. The AGM shall be held in the same city in which the F.A cup final is held. The host city shall be chosen, a year in advance, by the AGM. Where the NFA receives written reports from the secretary-general, the F.A of the host state and the police commissioner of the host state that the city cannot host the AGM and F.A cup final, due to insecurity, health concerns or natural disaster, the board of the NFA shall meet and chose a new host city. Where the AGM is an elective one, the independent assessor shall choose the new host city. The new host city shall be communicated to members at least 2 weeks before the AGM.

A representative each of FIFA, CAF, and the NOC shall observe elections at the AGM. An electoral committee shall conduct the elections. The committee members shall be composed of members of the AGM nominated by at least 2 other members and elected by a simple majority. The FIFA representative shall conduct this nomination and election process. Members of the committee shall also include staff of the secretariat nominated by the secretary-general and appointed by the AGM. An independent assessor shall also be appointed by the AGM, a year in advance, to monitor the elections. The assessor shall be either; a reputable accounting firm (e.g. Price Waterhouse Coopers), a reputable polling organisation (e.g. Gallop), or, the Independent National Electoral Commission

b) The board: – Elected by the general assembly to a four-year term. It is responsible for the general governance of football. It serves as guardian of the sport in Nigeria. It is also responsible for appointing the secretary-general of the NFA, appointing the chief coach; approving sponsorship, broadcast and employment contracts, approving the calendar of events; and hearing appeals arising from the decisions of its committees. The board meets at least once a month. Any member of the board who is absent from 3 consecutive board meetings, without good reasons, will have his voting rights at board meetings suspended for the next 3 meetings. Any member of the board who absents himself from 6 consecutive board meetings will be deemed to have forfeited his position and a new member will be elected at the next AGM. Any member who is absent from 12 board meetings in a 2 yr period will be deemed to have forfeited his position and a new member will be elected at the next AGM. Notice of a meeting must be given to all members 2 weeks before the meeting. The monthly board meetings shall take place in the boardroom at the NFA headquarters.

i) The Chairman: The chairman of the NFA is chairman of the board and head of the NFA. He is elected to a four-year term and cannot serve more than two terms. In trying to fill any vacancy, it is always better to first think of the qualities and skills needed. The chairman would be the face and public image of the F.A. He should be someone who has international connections in the football world. He should be someone who is already known by FIFA, and has relations with clubs, football stars and other F.As around the world. He should be able to bring good will to the NFA. He should have a spotless and credible reputation that sponsors would want to associate with. He should, of course have participated in the sport in some form and have a good knowledge of what footballers, referees, coaches, etc go through. [E.g. Segun Odegbami, Stephen Keshi, Austin Okocha (footballers) Emeka Omeruah, Anthony Kojo Williams,Amos Adamu (former chairmen) Patrick Ekeji, late Patrick Opomo (former secretaries-general), Bolaji Ojo Oba (former WAFU secretary-general), Jonathan Ogufere (former WAFU president), Adegboye Onigbinde, Amodu Shuaibu (coaches) Chief Ekhusehi, Chief Oyiuki Obaseki (club owners/chairmen), Paul Bassey, Mumini Alao, Larry Izamuje, Mitchell Obi (SWAN), Festus Bolaji Okubule, Linus Mba (former FIFA badged referees)]

ii) Committees: these include the disciplinary, medical, competitions (responsible for setting rules and regulations), facilities, youth & football development, security & safety (headed by police representative), and referees committees. Responsible for protecting the integrity of the sport. The members and chairmen of committees shall be composed of board members and shall be appointed by the chairman of the NFA. The committees shall meet at least once a month.

Disciplinary committee: this committee is responsible for sanctioning those who break the rules. It hears appeals from decisions of the disciplinary committee of the N.F.L. It metes out punishment to those involved in violence at football grounds, intimidating referees, dangerous play, bringing the game into disrepute, etc. The head of the legal department of the NFA, or a staff of the department representing him, shall act as adviser to this committee.

Medical: this committee, with the advice of the medical department of the NFA, is responsible for making regulations detailing the minimum medical standards to be observed at all football matches. It receives the report of the medical department, on infractions of its regulations and applies appropriate sanctions.

Competitions: this committee is responsible for setting the rules and regulations of NFA organised competitions, such as the F.A cup and the amateur leagues. Such rules include rules governing the transfer of players from one club to another. The committee is also responsible for appointing match commissioners for NFA organised matches. The match commissioner must have knowledge of the rules of organisation, security and the rules of the game and must be neutral. Therefore, he should be a respected state F.A chairman, former referee, former secretary-general, former NFA chairman, etc. However, he cannot be a member of the NFA board or management team. He should also not have interests in, or be a known supporter of any of the teams involved.

Youth & Football development: this committee regulates and monitors football academies, youth teams and grassroots football competitions. It also regulates the transfer and working conditions of underage footballers. In addition to funding received from the NFA itself, this department could also receive grants from the government from the proceeds of the National Lottery. However, this is not mandatory and is not an excuse for the government to interfere in the activities of the committee. Whatever money is received will be accounted for at the AGM.

Security & Safety: the police representative heads this committee. It is responsible for setting the minimum safety standards required for a football match to take place. This includes; the minimum number of policemen at football grounds, crowd control measures, evacuation procedure in case of emergencies, and the minimum fire fighting and prevention measures that should be in place. This also includes measures to search all individuals coming into stadia and measures in place to identify and punish football hooligans.

Referees: this committee selects referees for NFA organised competitions, from a list provided by the Nigerian Referees Association. If no suitable referees are on the list provided by the NRA, the committee can reject the list and ask for a new one. However, the committee can also selects exceptional referees who are not on the NRA’s list. The committee regulates the conduct of referees and applies sanctions, which include suspensions and bans, on erring referees. The committee also appoints referee’s assessors for NFA organised competition and for the leagues. The assessor shall be a respected former referee. The identity of the assessor shall be kept a secret. The assessor sends his report to the referees committee and, in the case of the professional leagues, a copy is also sent to the NFL. This committee, in conjunction with the technical department, the NRA and FIFA, conducts cooper tests on referees. The committee also recommends deserving referees to FIFA and CAF for participation in their tournaments.

Facilities: this committee prescribes the minimum standards of football pitches and stadia used for NFA organised competitions. It could ban a particular stadium, which is not up to standard, from hosting any NFA organised competition for a prescribed period of time.

iii) The secretary: The secretary-general of the NFA would serve as secretary to the board, but would be excused when matters concerning his appointment are discussed.

c) The secretariat: Is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the NFA and is composed of qualified professionals. It negotiates sponsorship deals, and sends same to the board for approval. It also screens candidates for the post of chief coach and sends to the board for approval. The NFA calendar/programme of events is worked out by the head of departments’ meeting, in conjunction with the NFL and the NFFL, and sent to the board for approval and is published at the beginning of December of the preceding year. This states the date of proposed friendly matches, F.A cup matches, the charity cup match, commencement and conclusion of the leagues and other major events, such as the AGM, awards ceremony, etc. The season commences with the charity cup and concludes with the F.A cup.

i)The Secretary-General: The Chief Executive Officer, appointed by the board. Should possess a degree in administration (business, sports, or public administration, preferably sports admin), or should have served in the NFA for a period of 8 consecutive years. (The recent suggestion that the secretary-general should possess a degree in P.H.E is one of the most ridiculous suggestions I’ve heard in my life. He is not going to train the players). He should have knowledge of contract law, accounting and motivation/psychology. (E.g. Patrick Ekeji, Patrick Opomo). He chairs the weekly heads of department meeting (which is also attended by the chief operations officer).

ii) Departments: these include legal, media/records/communications, administration (operations/logistics/protocol), finance, personal, marketing and technical departments.

Legal Dept: Headed by a lawyer (Adokie Amasiemaka, Godwin “Dudu” Orumen come to mind, if the position isn’t beneath them). This department advises the NFA on matters pertaining to contracts (e.g. sponsorship, broadcast rights, employment contracts), (particularly as regards exclusivity, performance and “get out” clauses), amendment of NFA statutes, trademark and copyright protection and other legal matters.

Administration (Operations/logistics/protocol) department: The chief operations officer serves as deputy head of this department (and deputy secretary-general). He should have a degree in administration/management (preferably sports administration or hotel management), or 6 years experience in the operations department of the NFA). The secretary-general of the NFA serves as head of this department. This department is responsible for arranging transportation for the national teams, booking accommodation for the national teams, securing visas and flight tickets when necessary and other duties such as taking care of the kits of the national team etc. It is also responsible for organising the NFA annual general meeting, board meetings and committee meetings, providing secretarial and other services at such meetings and taking care of the logistic needs of the NFA. This department would work closely with sponsors in the private sector, in such a way that the official car company could provide transport and the official airline could provide tickets free or at a reduced cost. (In time sponsors could even buy shared business jet policies that guaranty a business jet for your trip within 24 hours of your request). Within this department is the secretarial services section.

Secretarial services: the head of this department must have a degree in secretarial administration/studies. This section will maintain a pool of secretaries, typists and clerks for use by the NFA.

Technical Dept: Headed by the technical director/adviser. He should be a former national team coach (recognised football nation, preferably Nigeria e.g. Adegboye Onigbinde). This department screens candidates for the post of chief coach. The chief coach is to prepare a report, after each international match or competition and submit to the technical department for scrutiny. This report should contain the reasons for his team selection and tactics deployed. The technical department cannot, however, select players for the coach. This department provides technical aids to the chief coach, such as, tapes of the opponent (gotten from media dept) audio-visual and other training aids (in conjunction with admin dept). The technical department also conducts seminars, courses and clinics for coaches, trainers and referees. Such courses include courses on modern training methods, tactics, audio-visual aids, simulations and computer technology. This department, in conjunction with the NRA, FIFA and the referees committee, conducts cooper tests on referees. The technical department also informs coaches, referees, football clubs and other stake holders about rule changes instituted by FIFA, CAF and the NFA. Such changes include changes to the offside rule, the back pass rule and the head-to-head rule. The department also advises the board and the heads of department meeting on the appropriate attachment secondment and exchange programmes for Nigerian coaches to and with foreign clubs and F.A’s

Media/communications department: Headed by the director of communications, who should possess a degree in mass communications, or have 8 years experience in the field of communications (preferably a member of SWAN). This department is composed of the media (public relations), and communications (engineers) sections. The key functions of this department are the management of the NFA image and website. Results of all league and F.A cup matches should be posted on the website immediately after the match. This should include statistics such as number of red/yellow cards and the names of goal scorers. Referees and match commissioners should be able to send their match reports by E-mail to the NFA. NFA decisions on disciplinary matters, bans, suspensions etc should be posted on the website, clearly stating the names of the player or club and the punishment imposed. The NFA calendar of events should also be posted on the website in December of the preceding year. It should also have an E-mail address through which the public can send suggestions and observations. The department is responsible for organising and moderating NFA media conferences. It also seeks information from other departments in response to enquiries from the media and the public at large. This department should possess and maintain functional telephone, telex and fax machines and E-mail addresses for easy communication with FIFA, CAF, our foreign-based players, referees, match commissioners and the world in general. It should also possess satellite television facilities to monitor our players who are abroad and monitor reports about Nigerian football. It should work closely with sponsors in the private sector (e.g. Glo, MTN) who would provide and maintain communications facilities (e.g. internet facilities) free, or at a reduced cost and also with the marketing department who would get advertisers for the website.

Records department: The head of this department should have a degree in library studies or statistics. This department should possess powerful computers with a large database. It should keep records of results of all league and F.A cup matches. This should include statistics such as number of red/yellow cards and the names of goal scorers. It should also keep records of NFA decisions on disciplinary matters, bans, suspensions etc, clearly stating the names of the player or club and the punishment imposed. This department should also keep records of the number of goals scored by players for the national team, the highest goal scorers in the league and the number of red/yellow cards issued in a season. It should keep records of all registered players, clubs etc. No player, who is under contract, should be allowed to change clubs mid-season, without the consent of the club that he is contracted to. This includes international transfers. Where a player contravenes this rule, he should be reported to the competitions committee, which could take the matter up with FIFA. This department is critical to the functioning of the Nigerian Football museum/hall of fame/library.

Marketing department: the head of marketing department should have a degree in marketing, or 6 years experience in marketing. The marketing department is responsible for sourcing for sponsors for the NFA’s programs. Such sponsors could include; official car company, which would take care of the transportation needs of the NFA (e.g. Toyota, Mercedes Benz), official airline, official telecommunications company, which would take care of the communication needs of the NFA (e.g. Globacom/MTN/V-Mobile), official bottled water, etc. This also includes sponsors friendly matches. The sponsor pays the visiting team’s appearance fees, transport costs, hotel bills and allowances and the travel costs and hotel bills of our own players. In return, the sponsors get exclusive adverts at the stadium and on T.V. Gate takings and fees from broadcast rights will be shared between the NFA and the marketers (e.g. COSAFA castle cup, star mega jam, Nigeria vs. Brazil at Abuja and Nigeria’s friendlies before Korea/Japan 2002). Such friendlies shall be organised in conjunction with the technical crew, the international department and the admin department. The marketing department ensures that exclusivity clauses in sponsorship contracts are respected. This department is also involved in the selection of the official kit makers of the national teams. The prime job of this department is branding the NFA and protecting the NFA brand.

Medical department: This must be headed by a medical doctor (preferably a former team doctor of the NFA). It conducts drug tests at FA cup/league matches and at national team training camps. It recommends minimum medical standards to be observed at all football matches to the medical committee of the NFA. It also inspects venues of football matches to ensure that these standards are met and could advice the referee to cancel a match where the standards are not met. It also sends its report on such matches to the medical committee of the NFA.

Personnel department: should be headed by someone with a degree in personnel management, or someone with 6 years experience in personnel management, who has headed a personnel department in a major organisation. However, what interests me here is the ability to hire and fire. The board of the NFA is elected by the general assembly and is removed by the AGM or EGM. The secretary-general of the NFA is appointed by the board of the NFA. The heads of department are appointed by the board of the NFA on the advice of the secretary-general. The other staff of the NFA are employed by the secretary general on the advice of the head of department and in conjunction with the personnel department. The technical crew is appointed by the NFA board. The person who hires also fires. The personnel department also makes input into employment contracts, remuneration etc. NFA board members do not receive salaries, but the expenses they incur while performing their duties will be borne by the NFA. These expenses include travel and hotel bills. These expenses will be presented to the NFA AGM for deliberation. Members of the management team of the NFA will receive salaries.

Training: This department arranges for, evaluates and conducts training programmes for staff of the NFA. Such training includes; computer (internet, Peachtree, ms word, etc), language (French, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, etc), security and crowd control, driving, etiquette, public relations and first aid training. The training could be conducted in-house, or by arrangement with academic and professional institutions. Resource people for in-house training could come from the NFA itself, or from reputable institutions such as, Alliance Française, NIIT, FRSC, The Nigeria Police, The Nigerian Red Cross and the Fire Service.

International Department (liaison/diplomacy): Firstly, the NFA could appoint a football ambassador who would represent Nigeria’s interests in Europe. This ambassador, who could be a former Super Eagles player based in Europe (e.g. Christopher Ohenhen) would help the NFA organise friendlies, negotiate for the release of our players and could also assist in attaching our coaches to foreign clubs (e.g. Jay Jay Okocha’s role in getting Christian Chukwu into Bolton). He could also assist when our players have problems (e.g. Babayaro’s rape case) and assist young Nigerian players who are stranded in Europe, or have been tricked to sign exploitative contracts [e.g. Ahmed Garba (Yaro Yaro). He would also bring these cases to the attention of the NFA. Alternatively, the NFA could hire a European agency to perform this service. The International department would advise the NFA on the best course of action and would manage the NFA’s relationship with the ambassador. This department, though small, is very important. In 2004, the Japanese F.A, realising that most of its players play in Europe, appointed a liaison officer in Europe to protect Japanese interests. General Sani Abacha appointed John Fashanu as Nigeria’s football ambassador (though I’m yet to see the benefits of this move). I propose that the

Transport: The head of this department must have headed the transport section of a major organisation, worked as head driver in a major organisation, or worked in a major transport company, e.g., Chisco or Dangote. This section will be involved in either supervising the activities of companies that have been contracted to take care of the transport needs of the NFA, or work with sponsors that provide for such needs (e.g., ASEC Mimosa-Nissan deal), or take care of such needs it self. This section will maintain drivers for the use of the NFA and where necessary, a car pool.

The accounts department: the head of this department must have a degree in accountancy (being an ICAN member is an added advantage). The audited accounts of the NFA must be presented to the Annual General Meeting for deliberation. The accounts department is responsible for keeping records of the income and expenditure of the NFA (E.g. what was the money spent on, by whom, when and how). The chairman, secretary general and the head of accounts department; are joint signatories to the NFA accounts. The accounts department, in conjunction with the personnel department, is responsible for paying salaries of the NFA management team.

The finance/ new projects department: this department is an advisory department. The Chief Finance Officer, who is the financial adviser of the NFA, heads this department. The CFO must have a degree in finance (e.g. banking and finance or MBA finance) and should be someone who is imaginative and familiar with risk management. This department is responsible for coming up with lucrative projects that the NFA can invest in and for building up the asset base of the NFA. It is also responsible for managing the NFA’s debt profile and credit rating.

The secretary general also chairs the business group meeting , comprising of the secretary-general, the chief accountant, chief finance officer and the head of marketing. This group examines business opportunities available to the NFA, for example; whether the NFA should acquire or build a national stadium or not; how should the construction or acquisition be financed; whether, if built, the stadium should be managed by the NFA, or management contracted out; and the various ways the NFA can generate revenue from such a stadium. The same also applies to the Nigerian Football Museum (cum hall of fame, library and theme park) and NFA technical centre/football academy.

There would be no pro-league department; rather, the Nigerian Football League (N.F.L) would be as presently composed. (The minister’s recent decision to bar club owners from being members of the NFL, in my view, is ridiculous). Indeed a new body, the Nigerian Female Football League (NFFL), which shall be similar to the N.F.L, shall be established.

THE NATIONAL TEAMS

The back room staff:

o Dietician: should have a degree in nutrition. To draw up proper diet programs for the national teams using local dishes where possible. (is seconded from the medical department and reports to the chief coach)

o Kit man: To ensure that the national team’s kits arrive the stadium/hotel/city on time and that jerseys etc are properly laundered. Is also to inspect the kit supplied by the kit makers and ensure that the national team has the appropriate kit, e.g. long sleeve jersey, face caps (or the new contact lenses) for goal keepers, training cones etc. (is seconded from the admin department and reports to the chief coach)

o Welfare officer: Should either be close to the players, or have a degree in sports psychology. Should ensure that appropriate recreational facilities (e.g. draught boards, swimming pool, golf courses etc) are available to the players when they are in camp, wherever the camp may be. Should also ensure that the personal needs of the players are taken care of (e.g. barbers, etc). Should also note the birthdays of the players and should know when they are injured/ ill, so that appropriate communication can be made and action taken.

Technical crew (front room staff)

This is composed of the chief coach, assistant coach(es), physical trainer, goalkeeper trainer, team doctor, physiotherapist and psychologist. Only members of the technical crew are allowed to sit on the bench during national team matches.

The chief coach: should have a proven track record as player, or coach. The technical department of the NFA will screen candidates for this post. The chief coach should be given a free hand to instil discipline in the team. He should be able to select his assistants He is responsible for player and tactics selection. He is to draw up plans, before any match/competition, detailing where he would like to camp the team, the resources he would need to execute the match/competition and, in the case of a match within Nigeria, where he would like the match to be played. He is also to draw up match/competition reports and submit to the technical department of the NFA.

The assistant coach(es): should also have a proven track record as a coach or player. He carries out such duties as are assigned to him by the chief coach. This could include going to watch matches of potential opponents and reporting back to the chief coach and conducting training sessions.

Goalkeeper trainer: should have a proven track record as national team goalkeeper or goalkeeper trainer. Is, of course, responsible for training the goalkeepers and performs other functions as detailed to him by the chief coach.

Physical trainer: is responsible for the physical conditioning of the players, through exercises and gym work, using appropriate modern machines. (A degree in PHE would be an added advantage)

Team doctor: Must, of course, be a medical doctor (a degree in sports medicine is an added advantage). He examines all national team players before matches/competitions to ascertain their state of health. (Is seconded from the medical department and reports to the chief coach)

Physiotherapist: should have a degree in physiotherapy. He is to take care of muscular aches and pains. (Is seconded from the medical department and reports to the chief coach)

Psychologist: he should have a degree in sports psychology. Is responsible for motivating the players especially when they’ve lost. Aids in selection of penalty takers. Aids younger players to deal with stage fright and overwhelming situations (such as in North Africa). The team psychologist also motivates the players by aligning the individual goals of the players with the goals of the team, e.g., a player who has already won the nations cup might not be motivated to play in future nations cup (motivation isn’t only about money), the team psychologist aids the coach in dealing with such situations. He also fashions out psychological warfare tactics and aids our players in resisting such tactics from the opponents. (Is seconded from the medical department and reports to the chief coach)

The Delegation (for competitions):

Head of delegation: Should be either the NFA chairman, or a board member. Should be someone who can attend CAF or FIFA meetings on behalf of the NFA and who is known to CAF and FIFA. Should be someone who has connections in international football and is able to bring goodwill to the team.

Camp coordinator/Operations officer: He should lead the advance party to the venue of the match/competition. He is responsible for booking and inspecting the team hotel. He is also responsible for ensuring there’s adequate reception and transportation for the team at the airport. Should (if possible) be someone who understands the lingua franca of the host country. Should take care of the logistic needs of the team. Should liase with the chief coach and the Nigerian embassy/foreign ministry in carrying out his duties.

Camp commandant: is responsible for ensuring that camp rules are adhered to. Is also responsible for ensuring security in the camp. He should liase with the hotel security and the local security services.

Media officer: responsible for giving the media access to the team in such a way that it would not distract the team, or expose team tactics/secrets. He is also responsible for managing the image of the teams and issuing bulletins about scandals and potentially damaging information. He should assist the travelling Nigerian media contingent in any way he can, such as liasing with the authorities of the host country/Nigerian embassy and giving information about the host country. He should advise the team on how to deal with the media of the host country and moderate/organise media conferences given by the team.

Travel Restrictions:

The head of delegation, as I said earlier, should be the NFA chairman, or a board member. On his return from the trip, he should prepare a report on the trip, detailing the decisions reached at the meetings he attended (such as CAF/FIFA congresses etc) and the general state of affairs of the trip (e.g., conduct of the host/conduct of team/delegation members) and submit to the NFA board for deliberation. A copy of the report is also sent to the heads’ of department meeting.

The camp coordinator/operations officer shall be the Secretary-General, or the Chief operations officer, or a staff of the Admin dept appointed by the secretary-general. However, the Chief Operations Officer and the Secretary-General cannot travel at the same time and to the same event. Two or three other staff of the admin dept shall assist the coordinator/operations officer. On his return from the trip, he shall submit a report to the board, detailing his experience on the trip, such as, the logistics problem encountered, assistance offered by the host and observations about the organisational methods of the hosts. This report is then presented to the Heads’ of department meeting.

The head of marketing department and the chief financial officer may be allowed to travel to major tournaments (e.g. world cup and nations cup), if they can demonstrate to the board and the HOD meeting that they will learn new/different methods of marketing and financing the game and that they have the cooperation of the hosts. On their return, they shall submit a report to the heads’ of department meeting, detailing what they have learnt and what new ideas they have. The new ideas shall be put before the board for approval.

Lastly, some governments have used corruption in the FA as an excuse to dissolve the board and management team of the FA (e.g. Kenya). I do not accept this excuse. If members of the board are corrupt, the duty of the government should be to prosecute them and, if found guilty, punish them with jail terms or fines. It is the duty of the AGM, EGM or FIFA to dissolve the board (e.g. Vincent Onana of FECAFOOT in 1998).

What I’ve written above is not even exhaustive (more changes should be made), but is just the product of the little knowledge I have.

(Next time I shall write specifically about the league and FA cup)

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