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Peace as platform for success (II)

In the Nigeria football arena, the case has been practically underscored with comparison of the era of uncertainty and frivolous court cases and the period…

In the Nigeria football arena, the case has been practically underscored with comparison of the era of uncertainty and frivolous court cases and the period that ourselves at the Nigeria Football Federation have been able to focus on our duties and responsibilities and also pursue our vision and mission with relative peace of mind and ambience.
As we countenance the very crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and FIFA Confederations Cup tournament in June, the importance of peace and serenity of terrain was brought home more poignantly penultimate week by the Honourable Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi when he convened a meeting of the leadership of NFF and Coach Stephen Keshi.
I must confess that ever since he was appointed the Minister of Sports (at first, as supervising Minister while overseeing the Ministry of Youth), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has shown uncommon candour and total commitment to the growth of the Nigeria game.
He has shown absolute sincerity of purpose and dynamism, and his keen interest is reflected in how regularly he is in touch to know what is going on and be sure that all was well, at all times.
At the meeting penultimate week, I made it known to all present that the Minister has truly been ministering very well, and deserves a huge slice of the credit for our triumph at the 29th Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Although he confessed to me that he does not like flying too many times and too regularly, he had to fly forth and back from South Africa during the tournament, all in the interest of the nation.
I remember how delighted he was on the night of Sunday, 10th February when the Super Eagles overcame Burkina Faso in the Final of the Cup of Nations at Soccercity.
I also remember how, on the eve of our departure from Johannesburg, the day after the triumph, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi had intervened in the matter of Coach Keshi’s ‘resignation.’
His intervention helped nip the embarrassment in the bud and ensured we all returned home as a team after the victory.
On Tuesday, penultimate week, we all relived events in South Africa as we spoke out our hearts and decided to forgive and forget in the national interest.
The following day, at the NFF’s Executive Committee’s first meeting of the year, at the NFF Secretariat, Keshi had the perfect opportunity to apologize to the Members of the Executive Committee one after the other.
With that ugly shoe behind us, we are all readily focused on the challenge of conquering Kenya in Nairobi on June 5 and Namibia in Windhoek on June 12.
Arrangements have been perfected for the Super Eagles’ camping programme in Nuremberg, even long before Keshi returned from the United States of America. The NFF never slacked in commitment to adequate preparation of the Super Eagles, or any of the National Teams, for important matches and championships.
The mandate that we have from Nigerians is to ensure that the National Teams bring joy to our different peoples and glory to the nation on the international stage. That is something we keep in mind at all times. That is something that we have always had in mind ever since inauguration but distractions from every angle made some things unachievable in the first 16 months or so.
However, we are all delighted that the 16 months since then have been excellent, with peace having been fostered and the results there for all to see.
The better part of 2012 was spent qualifying for major competitions, while the women teams did impressively well at their major tournaments.
This year, we have won the Africa Cup of Nations, finished third at the African Youth Championship and second at the African U-17 Championship. This feats have brought more rewards – the Super Eagles will take part in the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament (Festival of Champions) in Brazil this summer as Africa’s flag-bearers; the Flying Eagles will be one of Africa’s flag-bearers at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey and; the Golden Eaglets will also be one of Africa’s flag-bearers at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates.
For now, the Super Eagles are in Germany and will be flying to the United States of America for the friendly with Mexico in Texas on Friday, May 31. After the match, they will return to Germany and from there fly to Nairobi, then fly down to Windhoek, and then fly across to Sao Paulo before connecting Belo Horizonte.
The Lagos Junior League Achievement Award…
On Saturday last week, I was the proud Guest of the Lagos Junior League at their Awards Ceremony in Lagos. I was the proud recipient of the ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the exciting event inside the auditorium of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
Following from another honour by the National Youth Council and another one by the African Students Union Parliament, and preceding the African Development magazine’s Sports Personality of the Year award in Accra, Ghana on Friday, the Nigeria Football Federation is convinced that it is doing the right thing as evidenced by these honours.
NEXT WEEK: Honours And More Honours

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