For Mallam Idris Abdullahi Musa, popularly known as Thuraya, going into the Kwara State Football Association elections is a matter of consolidation on the numerous achievements recorded in the last four years under his stewardship.
Elected and sworn-in as the first democratically elected Chairman of the association on June 13th, 2019, and as the first person from Kwara North since the inception of the administration of football in the state, Thuraya is obviously a “game changer”, with records of breakthroughs, total restructuring and rejigging of the system as well as streamlining the running of the round leather game in the state.
Thuraya was elected into office in 2019, in a process that fulfils all democratic values and principles, for the first time in the history of the football controlling body of the state which was instituted in the 70s.
Thuraya campaigned on a Four Points Agenda, which are, taking football to the grassroots by Identifying young talented players; engaging sponsors and partners; development of facilities and seminars for both players, coaches, referees and football stakeholders. All these, going by what has unfolded in the last four years, the promises have been fulfilled.
The very essence of football administration in the state is improving total participation from the grassroots, and ensuring effective coordination in professional aspects, engaging the stakeholders on all fronts, setting a definite template in all the components and with the affiliated bodies, to ensure all-round running of the system. All these aspects has been touched by his administration.
His visit to the traditional rulers and stakeholders of all the 16 Local Government Areas immediately after the assumption of office, to galvanize support and entrench a new order, constitution of one of the largest committees in the effective running of the system, which ensured that over 250 stakeholders are engaged, distribution of branded T-Shirts and Track Suits to all the committee members and traditional rulers are all the early take off points of the obviously successful first term tenure of the personality that was underrated ab initio, as he was termed “Fura Seller”
The follow-up of those visits was the organization of an U-15 youth competition among all the 16 Local Government Areas of the state. At the end of the exercise, about 16 young talented players were identified and they got scholarships to attend Kwara Football Academy. This same players did the state proud by winning Ramat Cup International back to back, in Kano state.
The team was received, honoured and kitted by Kwara FA, and as a follow-up, some of the players are now in either Kwara United Football Club, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Ilorin FC or other youth clubs around. The body has, after that, organized several youth competitions in the state.
As part of its youth development efforts, they organized seminars for coaches, and in one of such seminars, the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association (NFCA), Coach Issa Ladan Bosso, who is the current handler of the Flying Eagles was the Resource Person. The FA equally influenced the visit of Super Eagles Coach, Jose Peseiro and National U15 Coach, Ilerika.
It’s on record, that the current FA Board registered the highest number of youth teams, 64, for the Super League competition ever. It’s unprecedented.
The FA also empowered the whole 16 Local Government Area Football Councils with goal post nets, modern corner flags, balls and complete set of jerseys, for grassroots football programmes at the local levels.
Thuraya has also brought about competitiveness and championed total democratization of the administration of the round leather game in Kwara, as, for the first time in the history of the Kwara State Football Association, all the Football Council members in the 16 Local Government Areas are elected through the normal electoral process.
Thuraya’s Board’s achievements also included the mobilization for the completion and furnishing of the Kwara State Football House by the Kwara Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and the Chairman of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Appeal Committee, Barrister Abdulhakeem Uthman Mustapha.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq commissioned the Football House, which was later named after the pioneer Chairman of the FA, Alhaji Uthman Shehu Mustapha, the Wali of Ilorin, in the presence of the then NFF President, Melvin Amaju Pinnick and other major stakeholders in Nigeria football.
The project, which was one the such in the six geo-political zones was the first and only Football House that has been completed so far, and was one of the major achievements of both the NFF and Kwara FA, as it was heavily celebrated. Some states came to learn from the development.
Barrister Mustapha, following the interventions of Kwara FA, and approved by the Kwara State government, is re-grassing the pitch of the Main-Bowl of the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin. Barrister Mustapha has equally set up a football Academy for youth development in the state.
Re-grassing of the pitch of the Main-Bowl of the Kwara State Stadium Complex and other interventions are all part of the FA’s campaign promise to develop facilities.
The FA sponsored a FIFA trained referee, C. C. Chukwujekwu, for a seminar for the Kwara referees on new rules of the game.
The FA has continued to encourage members of the Kwara State Football Referees Council on all fronts. FA also raised the number of Premier League Referees from five to 17. It’s only in this tenure that Kwara Match Commissioners have all gone to matches every season.
This administration has brought competitiveness, which is being measured with the numbers of people that showed interest in the running of football from the 16 Local Government Areas, by contesting to be part of the historic move in ensuring everything was done in line with the provisions in the Electoral Code, Rules and Regulations and Statutes of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
In all, about 97 candidates and 80 delegates participated in the ritual towards electing the members of the Football Councils in the 16 Local Government Areas. The development, and the build-up towards it raised multiple interest like never before, and it’s a pointer to the fact that the system is being made attractive and conducive for all, a deviation from what used to be.
Before now, elections into Kwara FA and Football Councils offices are mere selections, especially of people without interest, knowledge and passion for the game. That, definitely has changed, with the doggedness, sacrifice and determination of the “Game Changer “, Thuraya.
Equally, before now, all these manipulations and arrangements are being done at the Central alone. Thuraya, with his visit to all the nooks and crannies of the state has broadened the acceptability and togetherness platform, with participation in the process on the rise day by day. They all feel the sense of belonging.
That diversification is also being pursued with utmost seriousness and sincerity, as the first State Congress was held in Oke-Ero Local Government in May, arguably the first time in the history of the FA, while also, for the first time since 70s, the State FA elections will hold in Kaiama Local Government Area on June 13th.
All these are enough strong foundation to build on, and a pillar strong enough to lean on, for sustenance.