Nigeria’s Sports Minister Sunday Dare has promised that the Federal Government will overhaul the senior national football team to ensure they get to the best possible heights in world soccer. The minister also promised to align the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) administrative architecture to the aspirations of people of Nigeria.
Speaking on the recent 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series double header against Sierra Leone, the minister, who apologised to Nigerians over Super Eagles’ disappointing outings against the Leone Stars, said the results of the matches have once again highlighted the urgency in restructuring the national team, adding that the games showed that the technical crew led by Gernot Rohr cannot meet Nigerians’ aspirations.
He said: “Football sometimes throw up unpredictable outcomes. We believe in the skills and talents of Super Eagles players. The team’s set up to correct the obvious lapses.
“We believe that when we hire a technical adviser; when we put our fate in the hands of some people, we expect some returns. If you hire a manager for your company and you don’t get the results you expect, you have the right to review your operation and take very critical decisions.
“My point is that we are going to sit back, review what has happened…we will review the entire team and whether the players are qualified or not to play for the team. Whether they are ready for this level of competition. We will also look at the technical adviser and also the entire people involved in football administration and the Super Eagles.
“You see when you fail to do the necessary checks, then you run the risk of repeating the same mistakes, failures and disappointments.”
Dare dismissed the claim in some quarters that he has no power to wade into the Super Eagles since there are elected officers in charge of the country’s football.
According to the minister, as the chief custodian of Nigeria’s sports sector, he has the powers to correct any shortcomings he discovers in any arm of the sector, including football.
He added: “The Super Eagles represent Nigeria, sing Nigeria’s national anthem and wear Nigerian jerseys. So, without Nigeria as a sovereign country they have nobody to represent.
“When we look at their operations to make them better, it is no interference. They represent 200 million Nigerians and not any association or any individual. They carry our hopes and aspirations and as minister of sports of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my responsibility to ensure that the interest of Nigerians is protected.
“To ensure that we have a football administration that serves the purpose, the vision and hopes of our country… we will review the way football is run in this country. It is not an interference; it will be a collective activity to make our football better.”