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PTF, A Timely Call

PTF, World cup qualifier, NFF, Senate
Posted: Sep 18, 2016 at 7:36 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Peter Edema.


A Yoruba saying alluded to money, goes thus, “Make no plan when am not at home.” Money in this saying warns against making any plan when it, money, is not readily available.

But there is another saying that: “When you fail to plan, you have planned to fail.”  Are the above sayings not contradicting? If money says don’t plan in its absence, and another says if you fail to plan you have planned to fail. When then can one begin to plan for the future?

Truth is, manna no longer falls from heaven and since there are no Father Christmases anywhere, then it presupposes that one must plan on how to make money. What you may not plan for is how to spend the money, until you have it.

I hope I’m making sense. If not, let us try and situate the situation the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) finds itself at present with the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament kicking off in about three weeks time. By the time I conclude this column, maybe I will make some sense.

This is not the best of time for the NFF financially. The football house is broke and cannot successfully prosecute the World Cup qualifiers. You see why you don’t plan when money is not readily available.

With the NFF unable to meet its financial obligation salary wise, does that mean Nigeria will not take part in the World Cup qualifying tournament? God forbid. Then how will Nigeria participate in the qualifying tournament without the required funds? A big question indeed for the NFF and Nigerians I believe. But the NFF has to source the funds because it is its responsibility to raise a team on behalf of Nigerians for the World Cup.

So calling on President Muhammad Buhari to come to its aid and set up a Presidential Task Force (PTF) that will help raise the needed funds for the World Cup should be given a thought.

But the NFF does not seem to be aware of the dates of the qualifiers which were fixed by FIFA a long time ago. Now if the NFF claims ignorance in this case, should it be an excuse? Of course, the qualifiers are expected to gulp millions of naira.

Some will ask, why ask President Buhari to come to its aid, when the NFF got an oil company to foot the salary of Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr in Euro. Can’t the NFF source sponsorship for the Super Eagles?

Please I am not defending the NFF or making case for them. But I am trying to make case for my job. If the Super Eagles fail to qualify for the World Cup, it will impact negatively on my job. Nigerians are crazy about football, so anything that will make them happy must be done. What Nigeria lost as a result of Super Eagles failure to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations cannot be quantified in monetary terms. It is a huge loss to the country, the media in particular. Should Nigeria fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the effect is better imagined. Reporting the World Cup proper will be a herculean task should one travel to Russia as a sports reporter? Are you going to report other African countries with the same passion that you will report the Super Eagles? Definitely not. You won’t derive same satisfaction as when you are reporting your country’s team. So it is imperative that the Super Eagles qualify for the World Cup.

The answer to the question; can’t the NFF source sponsorship for the team if it could get the coach is that success has many fathers but a loser is an orphan. This is the dilemma that the NFF has just found itself. Super Eagles failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations back to back has impacted negatively on the team. The team is now an orphan. It will take the geniuses of us all to sell the brand to the business community. This is because people identify with success and not with failure. This is why the NFF must be blamed for not doing much in getting enough sponsors for the team, when it was the toast of the business community. All the goodwill that the team got them was filtered away because of ignorance.

With the economic situation not helping matters, the only opportunity left for the NFF to source funds for the World Cup qualifying tournament, is the federal government.
But will the government that is finding it difficult to meet its obligation be able to bail out the NFF? If  past experiences are anything to go by, then it will be easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for the government to accede to NFF’s request. This is because the task force the government set up during the 2010 World Cup qualifying tournament did not get the support it deserved from the NFF. The relationship then was like cat and mouse.. Even when a new executive came on board, the task force also suffered the same fate.

But I believe the scenario has changed. There is another executive on board who is initiating the move for a Presidential Task Force. It will do the government a lot of good, if it assists the NFF in qualifying for the World Cup. This is because failure to qualify for this tournament has unimaginable consequences not only to the NFF but the Buhari- led government. The social upheaval is better imagined. If we consider the business side of the failure to qualify, it will be in billions of Naira. We can’t afford to throw away such a huge business opportunity now. The implication of the task force is that while the NFF will concern itself with preparing the team for the qualifying tournament, the PTF would assist in raising the needed funds. The good thing is that after the first two matches of the qualifiers, the team will have to wait till the last quarter of 2017 before playing the third and fourth matches. There is ample time for the PTF to really work and be able to raise the funds.

It is for these reasons that the government as a matter of urgency accedes to the request. Good, the chairman of the PTF in 2010, Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport, is in this government. He could be of good assistance. The call is not only timely but is of necessity.