The Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has stated that his scorecard as minister will weigh heavily on the performance of football, which he described as the “big cow in the house.”
He made this known when he met with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by the President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau in his office at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Wednesday.
While dubbing the meeting a ‘family affair’, Enoh said he is prepared to show the leadership needed to take Nigeria Football, and indeed other sports, to greater heights.
The minister harped on the need to make the nation’s domestic leagues better while also pursuing with passion and intention the development of the game at the grassroots level.
He added that the followership, interest, popularity and excitement that football generates around the country, necessitates why careful and intentional actions must be taken for the growth of the game.
“We must be open to dissecting some of the burning issues in our football,” Senator Enoh said. “This is what this meeting is about. Where are we as a footballing nation? What are our prospects? What are the plans? This sector is one where everyone is interested and wants to know what is going on. We should address topical and trending issues such as the 10-year football master plan implementation, membership of the executive board of the NFF, the image of our league, amongst other issues. We must look at global best practices obtainable in thriving nations,” he said.
The NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, expressed gratitude to the minister and emphasised the immediate challenge of ensuring a strong start for the Super Eagles in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign in November. He also pledged to do everything possible to support the Super Falcons’ qualification for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Paris next year.
Gusau further stated that the NFF Board and Management will work diligently to ensure the Eagles excel at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, the three-time champions, Nigeria say they have adopted the catch-phrase ‘Let’s Do It Again’ as their battle cry towards winning a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Cote d’Ivoire early next year.
The proposal was presented and unanimously approved before the final AFCON 2023 qualification match against the Falcons and True Parrots of Sao Tome and Principe in Uyo last month. It served as the inspiration for the players and officials to wear t-shirts with the inscription after the match at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium. The journey continues on Friday as the Super Eagles face Saudi Arabia in a friendly game at Estadio Municipal de Portimão in Portugal.
Additionally, the Eagles have another friendly match on Monday against the Mambas of Mozambique at the same venue, followed by 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in November.