Football Stakeholders Call On Ministry, NFF, To End Factionalised Supporters Club

Football Stakeholders Call On Ministry, NFF, To End Factionalised Supporters Club

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By Amaechi Agbo

Nigerian football coaches, journalists, administrators and fans have expressed concern that the continued factionalisation of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club will in no distant time, like a timed bomb go off and destroy the game millions of Nigerians love to follow, can report.

The Nigeria Supporters club have been enmeshed in division with two presidents claiming leadership of each of the factions. While Abayomi Ogunjimi prides himself as the  President of the Authentic Nigeria Football Supporters Club; Prince Vincent Okumagba claims to be the President of Nigeria Eagles Supporters Club.

What many Nigerians do not know is the implication division in the once united supporters club would have or is having not only on the psyche of the players but the entire football system in the country.

Speaking on Dreamland online platform on Tuesday, coaches in the round leather game, administrators, fans and journalists expressed worry that the continued division is inimical to the growth of Nigeria football and called on the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and the ministry of Youth and sports to as a matter of urgency look into the cross of the division and intervene to salvage the situation.

According to Prince Ngadiuba Paul Ifeanyi, CEO, Ngadiuba Soccer Academy, Abia State, he noted that since the ‘war’ in the supporters club started, Nigeria national teams have not won any major tournament adding that the factions are part of problems in Nigeria football.

He alleged that the factions use diabolic means to hold down the progress of the national teams.

“Since this WAR started Nigeria have not won any Major tournament in all our national teams. Don’t be surprised they are part of our problem, so that no one group will claim that they are part of the support group. They use any diabolical means to hold the down the progress of our national Team’s.

“The Final line here, the minister should disband the two groups. Then clubs all over the state should mobilise their supporters club to stand in as alternative whenever our national teams are playing.

“Each State government can also sponsor their supporters club to stand in for the national teams.

On how the supporters group operate, Mr Ngadiuba explained “Their activities are voluntary and optional. The federal government via Sport’s Ministry can decide to do away with them because they are distraction to the progress of the national teams.

The government never awarded them any contract on what they are doing. No agreement was signed with them, no legal documents biding them together. Alternately, the government should seek nullification of the incorporation of the so called body,” he said.

Another commentator, Ebube Dike said “I recall Super Eagles players complaining of being distracted by the DISCORDANT tunes and songs the factional groups sing during matches…

“If NFF does not have interest in the crisis, they should come in. Sports Minister should also come in to solve this problem. CAF itself got it wrong when it recognised one at the expense of the other, this will breed more infighting.

“The leaders of the two group should also shift ground and reach a compromise if indeed they are serving Nigerians and not their individual pockets,’ he said.

Responding to a view concerning the legality of the groups, Mr Dike said “You have brought in a new dimension to this. But let us look at it from another angle, does it mean that they are registered group, then every Tom, Dick and Harry can register a name and become a supporters Club? 

“I may not have good knowledge of the law but the elementary ones I know is this, NFF is the custodian of football related matters in Nigeria. The factional groups have vested interest in football, there is a regulator here and that is NFF.

“Secondly, the Minister is the number one sports person in the country who supervises all sports-related activities in the country on behalf of the government.

“Now looking at this legal angle again, it means that the breakaway group exploited a giving lacuna in the system and NFF, having a vested interest, looked the other way.

“But come to think of it, does it mean that anybody who can get tickets and go to match venues becomes a member of supporting club?  NFF should come out clean and talk to Nigerians on this matter. The earlier this situation is brought to a halt, the better for our football.”

Another speaker, Daninho however expressed different opinion and opined that both factions have their legal rights to exist and operate since they were legally registered in the country and postulated that the minister does not have the power to proscribe them.

“I think funding of these Supporters Club (especially the National Team’s) is on the members themselves.

“The NFF may not want to wade in 100% so they don’t assume any financial responsibilities thereafter. I believe they are duly registered Associations with rights and privileges under the law by CAC.

“The Minister would not have powers to stop their association and activities. They sponsor themselves to Nigeria matches and sing in support of the teams.

I would like to get further explanation on the legal rights of the minister to BAN them.

“To get VISA for World Cup is too easy. Let’s not go into too much details. We are using plenty sentiments now.

“I have gone to two WCs and joined Nigeria Band groups who are not under any particular name. Everybody will meet at the Parking Lot and move in together. Football really does not need any central powers trying to control adults in a stadium.

“Those English Hooligans…they are known all over the world. Are they under any FA or controlled by The FA?

“I can rise and form football supporters group right away and go to any matches all over the world without anyone stopping us. So long as we get our visas (individually or collectively), buy our tickets…we are in and balling.

“Those Orange Haired people supporting Holland in groups, they have no label. They are just supporters of the Dutch National Team, staying together, singing and having fun.”

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But former National Coordinator of Nigeria National League Club Owners Association, Olisa Onuchukwu, disagreed with him.

“People should always understand the basic point of a particular discussion before contributions. The basic and high point of this discussion remains the name of the warring associations thus: Nigeria Football/Other Sports Supporters Club.

“For example, in football matches involving Nigerian teams, they dress in Nigeria national colours in tandem with the competing Nigerian teams and pride themselves as inseparable companion of Nigerian Football Federation, NFF.

“For successive years they relied on NFF support documents/interventions to secure entry visas to completion/match venues and sometimes monetary support for sustenance.

“Their primary target remains Nigeria National teams and NFF which guarantee their accruing benefits which is the bone of contention regarding all these crisis, therefore, citing legal autonomy or supremacy of the warring factions here is baseless because we wouldn’t be bothering ourselves if they are going by other names without any attachments to NFF and Nigeria National Football Teams.

“It wouldn’t take NFF more than 24 hours to sort out this crisis if they want but time shall definitely tell why they chose to maintain privy attention to the unfolding and messy crisis,” he said.

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