By Adeboye Ajayi
The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, on Friday said the federation wants to raise $2.8 million for the Super Eagles’ participation at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Pinnick, who disclosed this during the commissioning of Western Nigeria Football Forum office located at the famous Cocoa House in Ibadan, said good financial support was necessary for the team.
“We have to support them to succeed. We cannot afford to fail at the FIFA World Cup,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that football stakeholders in the South Western zone of Nigeria organised the Forum in collaboration with the DAWN Commission, to revive the region’s football fortunes.
The NFF president said the federation has been monitoring the performance of Super Eagles players in their respective clubs.
“For instance, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, Kelechi Iheanacho and others are being monitored in their clubs to ensure they are doing well.
“Also, we have assisted Oghenekaro Otebo to move to UD Las Palmas in Spain to ensure that he plays in a strong league where he can play against world-class players like Lionel Messi,” he said.
Pinnick, while unveiling the new office, described the innovation as the future of football in Nigeria.
“I must commend the emergence of Western Nigeria Football League. It will form the future of Nigerian football. It is a pacesetter for other regions and it will assist in discovery of new stars,” he said.
Pinnick said the South West zone which produced the likes of Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Felix Owolabi and Sam Ojebode has again shown it is always the pacesetter.
“Ibadan, the headquarters of South West, is noted for being the first in the establishment of television, radio and university. This is another first the zone has recorded,” he said.
While congratulating those behind the move, the NFF president promised to furnish the new office for the Forum.
Seyi Akinwumi, NFF’s First Vice-President and Chairman of Lagos Football Association (LSFA), traced the establishment of the Forum to a meeting held by stakeholders at Abeokuta in 2015.
He said the idea behind the Forum is aimed at integration, which is also in line with the NFF Statutes on regions.
“It is not going to be a kind of discrimination, but something being done to engender regional integration and also help to promote grassroots football , as well as produce future stars,’’ he said.
Akinwumi promised that the development would witness the formation of a league, revival of Principals’ Cup and Tertiary Institutions’ competitions.
He also assured that the initiative would accommodate all the stakeholders in the zone, such as coaches, referees and media.
“For instance, coach Adegboye Onigbinde will handle coaching programmes in the zone, to prepare them for football development, with all the other coaches from other zones attending,” the NFF first vice-president said.
While assuring that the zone has come into the game to stay, Akinwumi disclosed that there would be television and online broadcasting of the league to make it vibrant.
Also, Seye Oyeleye, the Acting Director-General of DAWN Commission, said the commission supports the Forum because of the potential football offers youths from the south west zone.
“Football is a good business and DAWN Commission will assist youths in the zone to benefit from the potential,” he said