‘It Will Be So Difficult’ – Odegbami Explains Why A Southerner Can’t Be Next NFF President

The Nigerian ethnic sentiment will play a huge role in the emergence of the successor to the outgoing Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick, a former Super Eagles legend has revealed.

Segun Odegbami made the revelation on Tuesday during an interview on TVC, monitored by THE WHISTLER.

The 70-year-old won 46 caps and scored 23 goals for the Nigeria national team, helping the country to win it’s first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980.

Odegbami has contested for the top NFF job three times without succeeding.

The Federation is scouting for a new boss as Amaju Pinnick, the current NNF President’s tenure will expire in September.

Pinnick who was a former Delta State Sports Commission head had dropped his third term bid after a “very turbulent ride for Nigerian football,” as he had said on Arise TV.

To replace Pinnick, some of the aspirants vying for the job are: Ibrahim Gusau is the chairman of the current executive committee of the NFF and the Chairman of Zamfara State Football Association; Shehu Dikko; Seyi Akinwunmi, current First Vice President of the NFF; Musa Amadu, former NFF General Secretary; Peterside Idah, an ex-international goalkeeper.

But Odegbami said it would be almost impossible for a Southerner to replace the outgoing NFF president.

He alleged that the results will be determined by ethnicity and bribery in the election which will be held in September.

Odegbami said, “It is politics. I am not vast in politics and when you want to go for any position, what ever position that there is a process you go to you have to campaign, you have to meet people and in this environment, you have to bribe, you have to cheat, you have to manipulate certificates you have to do all kinds of things to win elections in this part and football is not immune from it.

“It also matters where you come from. Are you Yoruba or Igbo  from the North or South? It is like the elections we are going to have in September, the big factor will be where the different candidates are going to come from. 

“We have had a Delta man who is outgoing now. I can bet that it will be so difficult for any Sortherner to be the next president of the Nigerian Football Federation, because the big question will be whether they have had their turn, this is our own turn.”

The Super Eagles legend also spoke on issues relating to the failure of Nigerian athletes to remain competitive in the long run.

He accused the country of cheating and fielding over aged athletes in football and other sports. 

He said, “We were cheating. It is as simple as that. Let’s leave it at that. We were not developing the main underage athletes. We were developing people who were older and using them to succeed at younger ages and we thought we were succeeding.

“If we had done the right thing, we would have had a whole ocean of exceptionally gifted athletes in Nigeria.”

But he admitted that the country still has an abundance of talents.

He said it is impossible to compare his set with the likes of Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu among others.

Odegbami admitted, “The abundance of talent is still there till today. The ones here now have the opportunity to be greater. In Fact they are greater than those of us from the past. You can’t compare us with the J.Js (Austin Okocha) of this world, with the Kanus of this world except that there is too much money now.

“They play more for the country than for the sake of the country and patriotism as so on. And so, the commitment is different. The determination level is different. The sacrifices you make are also different.”

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