Chairman of Chairmen and Member of the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has reiterated that a strong commitment to virile development of Nigeria Football at youth level is one of the cardinal objectives of the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF administration.
Gusau, who represented the NFF President, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick at the inauguration/inaugural meeting of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, identified the committee as key and important to the vision of the administration, which was why the First Vice President was made the chairman. He assured the committee of the support of the Executive Board and noted that some players of the NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championship have turned out for the nation’s U17 and U20 teams. “This means that we should strengthen our resolve to pursue youth development and make it our strong focus.”
First Vice President of the NFF, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who heads the committee, said: “Football is essentially a game for the youth. No matter how good your players are, they will become veterans at some point and you will need to inject young blood. Presently, we are seeing perhaps the greatest case of young players transitioning into the Super Eagles in a very long time; it is the result of a deliberate policy.
“There is a difference between competition and development. Indeed, we must attend competitions; but we must equally look vigorously for young players, referees, coaches and even administrators in order to be on solid footing. We need to continue to see youth development as bedrock of whatever we are doing. Our academy system is presently in a mess. There is need for urgent streamlining.”
Insisting that the Nigeria Nationwide League One (NLO) is a strong pillar for building Nigeria Football, Akinwunmi noted that the work of his committee will be pivotal to whatever achievements the Pinnick administration will be able to claim in the remaining part of this term.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, charged the panel to fashion policies and programmes that will improve Nigeria Football and give it direction. He promised that the Secretariat will give the committee the required support to do its job. “Youth development is the focus now all over the world. At the level of CAF, the new president Dr Motsepe is throwing his weight behind school football, and we are working to be part of the pilot scheme for its take-off.”
Also at the meeting were the vice chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’; Mr Yakubu Sarma Philips (Member); Mr Imo Atta (Member); Mr Weyinmi Agbateniyiniro (Co-opted Member); Mr Eric Oluwole (Co-opted Member); Mallam Salihu Danlami (Co-opted Member) and; Alh. Ali Abubakar Mohammed (Secretary). NFF’s Technical Director, Mr Augustine Eguavoen attended to share his vision and insight on youth development.