Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr hopes that a peaceful coexistence of the Nigeria Football Federation and the Sports Ministry hierarchies must be restored before the New Year in order to give the national team and Nigerian fòotball a condusive atmosphere for further development.
Both the NFF and the Sports Ministry have been at loggerheads for over four years following an earlier court ruling directing the current NFF board to vacate office for another one led by Chris Giwa, who contested an election against the current President, Amaju Pinnick.
Rohr says that the imbroglio that ensued has affected the Super Eagles negatively.
“What I wish for the New Year is that we should stop the conflicts between the Nigeria Football Federation and the Sports Ministry,” Rohr said in an exclusive interview.
“We cannot succeed in a country when we are not together. We can only succeed when we are together. I saw this everywhere. In Burkina Faso, the Sports Minister was attending the team’s matches and he was even paying the salaries of the coaches, paying for trips and bonuses. Same in Gabon with Ali Bongo – he was a fan of football and the Sports minister Rene Demizur, a former player. I miss that here.”
The Super Eagles coach added: “The Federation is fighting to have a good organisation, find money and sponsors for football, they have to do this all alone. On the other side, there is a fight from the ministry. I don’t have anything against the Sports minister.
“I think he is a patriotic man, but I see that they are not together around us and we are a bit alone. When you don’t have solidarity from the politics and football officials, you cannot have it easy but we need that now.”
On how the conflict has affected his Super Eagles job, Rohr said: “We are worried about it because when we heard we could be suspended prior to the Seychelles game, I called the President of the NFF (Amaju Pinnick) and he said all will be well. We kept on with our job, but it affected our minds.
“Then we hear someone is coming, he’s at the office with Police, but now I think on the surface its okay. But we still don’t have this collaboration. The NFF cannot pay to have these good pitches. These things are done by the government, they have a budget for that.
“We are behind Cameroon now in terms of structures. We are behind Gabon who now have six stadiums. They have beautiful stadia in Bitam and in Oyem. But we need the solidarity.”
Packaged by Lanre Olabisi