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NFF President, Amaju Pinnick (left) with Gianni Infantino when the FIFA boss visited Nigeria…recently.

Nike to set up factory in NIgeria

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick will on Thursday in Katsina test his popularity among the federation’s congress. It is a battle for the NFF presidency, which has pitted him against two former leaders of the federation- immediate past president, Aminu Maigari and former Secretary General, Taiwo Ogunjobi.

Pinnick will become the first NFF boss to serve a second term if he won his re-election bid on Thursday. In his first term, he has seen his position challenged severally by some ‘stakeholders,’ who allege that he is not the right occupant of Nigerian football’s top job. But in spite of all the challenges, Pinnick has completed his first tenure and is now going into what he terms the ‘defining moment of Nigerian football.’ He says he wants to serve one more term before leaving the scene for new managers.

Speaking to journalists in Lagos at the weekend, Pinnick took a retrospective look at the last four years and agreed that the NFF infrastructure was not yet at the level it should be. He added, however, that he has laid the foundation for a functional administration.He said, “We are about 65 per cent self funding. But for the crisis, which held back some of our intending partners, we would have achieved 100 per cent independence.

“The NFF budget is about N5 billion and already, we generate a little more than N2.5 billion from our sponsors. “The Federal Government gives us money for major competitions like the World Cup and African Nations Cup, but we may not need such assistance when we achieve 100 per cent self funding.” Pinnick revealed that the NFF is on the verge of agreeing a new contract with kit sponsor, NIKE, adding that the new deal would fetch the country some financial reward.

“What we had with Nike was a contract that gave us a percentage from proceeds of shirt sales, but now we will get a proper contract. We are still negotiating with them and at the right time, we will announce the deal. The company also wants to set up a factory in Nigeria,” he said. He revealed that Nike has done an integrity test on the NFF, which the federation passed, adding that factory would be sited in one of the country’s export free zones.

“Under the Donald Trump regime, every American company planning to do business with a foreign organisation must carry out an integrity test on such organisation. That determines the American firm’s relationship with the external organisation.”Pinnick revealed that the instability in football administration has made it difficult for the NFF to achieve some of its goals, adding, “It is unfortunate that some people have been writing to our partners to scare them away from us. But we are gradually overcoming that.”

He regrets that the NFF is not yet compliant with the standard FIFA administrative system, saying his second term in office would be devoted to correcting the defects in the institutions.“My coming back is to look at how to build effective institutions, including the leagues and officiating, among others.

“We are lucky that we have not run into any major problem because the system is not yet digitized. We have a situation where three or four people man sensitive positions manually, which could result in a dangerous situation when they forget to do something or if somebody decides to be mischievous.

“What we will do is to computerise every aspect of our administration such that we will no longer depend on any individual’s memory to get things done.“We will also build football houses for all the states’ FAs and equip them with I.T systems that would be linked to the FIFA connect system. That way, all Nigerian football operations would be open for everybody to see at the touch of a button,” he said.



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