Yayy!!!…Finally, Nigerian football looks like it’s getting some reasonably good press nowadays. The NFF would be the first to admit that it needs some goodwill after how the last few months have been (remember the ridiculous problem involving the Falcons being owed their bonuses after WINNING a trophy?), plus the change of leadership at CAF has taken our minds off home affairs for a while.
However, this week brought some great news, with the NFF announcing that fast-rising oil and gas group, AITEO, is now an Official Optimum Partner (keep an eye on this) of the football federation. This means that most of the federation’s activities will be financially backed by the sponsor in exchange for exclusive rights of all national teams; so expect to see some advertisements from AITEO featuring our players from all levels.
This is good, I have to say…really good, but then some things have not been made clear. Maybe I am over-thinking this but it seems that this deal has been brought in to solve some problems and cover up some others.
First of all, this deal will ensure that salaries of all coaches and players will be paid over the next 5 years (with an additional year that is optional). Very good (they should clap for themselves) but is that it? Just to pay bonuses and salaries? Is that really all players get when they turn for games? What about the logistics involving inviting these players for international duty and the welfare involved when taking care of them during such times? We are all aware of what happened during last year’s Olympics…that was bigger than a salary problem. Does the new deal take care of that? I didn’t see anything like that in the reports.
Speaking of salaries, does the new deal take into account that players and coaches are STILL being owed salaries? I’m not even talking about Rohr’s salary (he’s white…so he’s OBVIOUSLY going to get paid). I’m talking about the late Keshi and Amodu, the Falcons who are waiting for their balance from last year, and the Olympic Team that was in Brazil last year (I’m sure those guys are still waiting for their money).
While this new deal is welcome, we all know for sure that there are no guarantees as regards if it totally solves our salary problem. We’ve been down this road before that there is a sponsor for the national teams and YET, we read of the players being owed salaries and bonuses (especially the youth and female teams). I hope Pinnick’s administration will be able to guide against such flaws this time.
Apart from salaries, are there any other projects that the new deal will look to bankroll? Is it just about throwing money to solve short-term problems or is the NFF using this deal to actually plan for how it becomes sustainable even after the deal ends? (because that can happen). All I keep reading is about salaries (we have other problems). This should be addressed at some point.
Finally, what the hell is an Official Optimum Partner? Can’t we just call AITEO an Official Partner of the NFF? I have never heard that title from anywhere in my life. Looking at what they’re doing for the NFF, Sugar Daddy sounds better.
Official Optimum Partner…lol…really?