Sports will always blossom where there is peace. There should be a good atmosphere for athletes to succeed. A house divided against itself cannot stand and this is evident not only in sports but in other spheres of life.

History has shown that on many occasions that Nigerian athletes are in crisis, the result is always bad. At the France ’98 World Cup, the Super Eagles protested over bonuses during the competition and in the end, they lost 4-1 to Denmark in the next match. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we recall it was the same situation.

The Super Eagles protested over bonuses and failed to train for the quarterfinal match against France. Nigeria eventually lost the match 2-0. In recent time, the crises in Nigerian football and basketball have been so disturbing such that the athletes and fans of these sports could suffer in the end. Interestingly, football and basketball in Nigeria have recorded remarkable results on the continent and beyond in the past one year.

The Super Eagles were amazing in the World Cup qualifiers as they qualified for the Russia 2018 easily with two games to spare.

This was done in a group that had three former African champions – Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) also did well by creating the enabling environment for the senior national team. For the forthcoming World Cup, two friendly matches have been played against Poland and Serbia with three more on the cards for the run-in to the World Cup. In one of such friendlies, Nigeria defeated Argentina 4-2.

Also, there is a campsite for the team; there is an agreement on the qualification bonus and match bonuses.

The Manager, Gernot Rohr, and his crew are currently not being owed. More importantly, sponsors are falling over one another to be partners with Nigerian football.

Wapic Insurance came up as official Insurer; there is Cadbury support, Coca-Cola boost as well as many other corporate endorsements. The preparations for the World Cup have not been this smooth in recent years but suddenly confusion came from the Supreme Court last week over the leadership of the NFF. Supreme Court did not uphold or throw out the appeal of the NFF, rather, the apex court asked Chris Giwa and the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF to return to the High Court.

This is a very wrong time for a crisis in the country’s football and we wonder why the ministry of sports is silent on this issue.

Any attempt to disrupt the structure of the federation in accordance to the laws of FIFA could attract ban and the Eagles despite a good run in the prelims might be unable to compete at the World Cup. No Nigerian will love Eagles to miss the Mundial.

FIFA laws are different from Nigerian laws and it is important for our judiciary to be very clear on its verdict.

We recall that this same crisis affected Nigeria three years ago in the Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa that led to the inability of the country to pick the 2015 Nations Cup ticket. This issue has dragged such that Pinnick is almost ending his tenure. If the court rules in favour of Giwa, he might not even be able to rule Nigerian football because he is currently under a five-year ban imposed on him and four others last year. Somebody else in the Giwa group could be groomed by the body to run for the next election which comes up after the World Cup.

This is the right thing to do rather than heating up the polity. Also, we make bold to say the impasse in the Nigeria Basketball Federation is very disturbing. Women’s national team, D’Tigress, emerged AfroBasket Champion last year while the male team, D’Tigers, also won silver at the men’s AfroBasket. Despite the promising results, there is no peace in the basketball federation.

Last week, the faction led by Musa Kida was in Lagos addressing a media conference over the new sponsors of its programmes and simultaneously in Abuja, the Tijani Umar-led group also addressed journalists about the start of a sponsored national competition. FIBA, the world body in charge of the game, sent officials to Nigeria in March and the verdict was that the body would still be dealing with Kida.

A few days back, the Kida group sent out a statement warning all clubs not to participate in the proposed national male league Tijani group was organizing.

“No other person or group of persons can hold itself out as the NBBF. FIBA is currently dealing with Kida (President), Babatunde Ogunade (Vice President) and Chimezie Asiegbu (Secretary General) as contained in the last FIBA letter of 13th March 2018,” the statement stated. The sincerity of FIBA is in doubt because this issue should not have dragged till now.

President Muhammadu Buhari can put an end to this madness in these sport federations especially in this FIFA World Cup year.

Culled from Daily Telegraph

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