For the leadership of Nigeria football Federation (NFF) and League Management Company (LMC) the mandate were probably the same – to resuscitate a dying football industry as well as a comatose domestic league… What may be entirely different is how the two men at the helm of affair took up the assignment.
Today, the score card clearly shows the difference…
While there has been a recent protest calling for the removal of the NFF President Amaju Pinnick #PinnickMustGo whose reign has brought more bad than good since he took charge in 2014.
Ironically, club owners and the entire Nigerian fans are praising the LMC chairman Shehu Dikko for the giant stride he has taken to transform Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
To be fair with him, you may say it is a different ball game… it is more responsibility being in charge of the entire football industry than just being in charge of the elite league.
But what people are protesting about really is the poor sense of judgement and mediocrity on the part of Pinnick and celebrating the visionary leadership style of Dikko, which is working towards making NPFL one of the top glamorous leagues in the world.
Pinnick came into office in 2014, as a high profile marketing juggernaut that will attract world class sponsorship and revolutionize the funding of football in the country.
He quickly brokered a sportswear partnership deal with Nike and the people thought a football ‘messiah’ has come after all. But today, Pinnick has left NFF more broke than any other administrator before him… and he has greatly fallen short of the people’s expectations.
There hasn’t been any form of stability either on or off the field, while the Glass house has become the setting of farce, with little or no result to showcase for his administration.
Qualification failures have been the order of his reign, with Super Eagles missing out on the African cup of Nations (AFCON) for the second time in a row.
The Super Falcons won’t be going to the Rio Olympics and neither will the Flying Eagles be present at next year’s U20 AFCON tournament in Zambia.
The ridiculous reshuffle of coaches – late Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh and Samson Siasia in four qualification games is the height of an incompetent administration.
As I write now, super Eagles doesn’t have a coach going for the world cup qualifiers soon. The NFF couldn’t meet the terms of the foreign coach Paul Le Guen.
Truly, there might be nothing left to believe any good can come out of Pinnick’s administration. It is very clear he must leave!
Looking at Dikko’s administration and what he is doing with NPFL, shows a man who has direction and can take the league to where fans as well as corporate brands want it to be.
Dikko came into office with a rather low profile, but almost immediately led the revolution that sealed the tripartite agreement between NFF, LMC and the Club Owners, which brought about the governance structure of NPFL and peaceful resolution of the then crisis in the elite league.
Dikko led LMC policies has largely changed the league by exterminating things like match fixing or home win syndrome found in the league before now. Today, teams can win away matches and return in one piece, without any form of violence or harassment.
Erring Clubs, players or referees are punished accordingly without fear or favor… Facilities and security are regularly upgraded… players’ welfare are seriously looked at to salvage the brand reputation of the league.
Dikko has taken LMC vision to the next level by signing a 5 years partnership understanding with the management of La liga, which enable Nigerian coaches and clubs to embark on capacity building in Spain. Perhaps, the best way to tap from the resources of one of the best leagues in the world and make NPFL better.