The Nigeria Football Federation will soon embark on a nationwide developmental project for the Football Associations of the various States, in the form of mini Secretariats, so says NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick, while speaking at the Lagos State Football Association’s Ekofootball Review Public Presentation on Wednesday, said the project, to be financed by a major partner of the NFF, will see six such projects completed in Jigawa, Osun, Bayelsa, Borno, Kwara and Abia States before the end of this year.
“We are working real hard to see that the focus returns to the grassroots. The States are closer to the grassroots and we have a responsibility to encourage them in that area, while we also work very hard to see that we qualify for the World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations championships.
“Football administration is never a journey, but a destination. Each administration will do its best and the next one takes it from there. But one thing our administration is determined to achieve is to ensure the NFF attains financial independence before our tenure is over. In this regard, the recent passage of the NFF Bill is a welcome development.
“Lagos State is really setting the pace. We commend their initiatives and encourage other States to emulate their style and engagement.”
Speaking earlier, Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association/NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, declared that grassroots football is the lifeblood of the game.
“Our administration realized this immediately we came into office. And our achievements in this area testify to the work we have put into it. Today, we have 64,000 kids in our U15 Future Stars’ data –base and over 36,000 in the U13 team. Position is temporary; posterity will judge you based on what you are able to achieve.
“Our vision is to be the best football association in Africa. Ekofootball is our philosophy for re-defining the style and standard of football and of football administration in Lagos State.”
Players like Super Eagles’ Dele Alampasu and Wilfred Ndidi, and Super Falcons ace Asisat Oshoala passed through Ekofootball’s developmental furnace.
The presentation revolved around Lagos FA’s well –structured developmental programme, the new Ekofootball academy, its corporate social responsibility and great rapport with Corporate Nigeria.
At the occasion, leading football diarist Kunle Solaja spoke about the history of football in Lagos and Nigeria at large while foremost journalist and sports marketer Ejiro Omonode made a presentation on using football as a marketing tool.
Akinwunmi disclosed at the end that the much –talked about ‘game changer’ is a plan the LSFA has put in place to start a profit –based Super League in the state in a few months, with the focus on having community –based clubs, which is already drawing enthusiasm from various individuals and and groups.
Also at the occasion were a representative of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission Deji Tinubu, Hon. Adedamola Kasumu, NFF Executive Committee members Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi and Ibrahim Gusau, NNL chairman Chidi Okenwa, NWFL chairman Aisha Falode, FA chairmen Ganiyu Majekodunmi, James Odeniran and Ayo Alabi, Lagos FA vice chairman and NRA president Tade Azeez, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo, Mutiu Adepoju, representatives of Spanish La Liga, Peter Rufai, Tilewa Adebajo, Obi Asika, Opeyemi Okunoren, Deji Okoya-Thomas, AIPS-Africa president Mitchel Obi, Harry Iwuala, Dr. Isaac Ayodele, SWAN President Honour Sirawoo, Yomi Kuku, Bolaji Yusuf, Mrs Koiki of Greensprings International School, Barr. Dudu-Orumen, leading sports editors/managers and other football stakeholders.