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History

HISTORY OF FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT AND ORGANIZATION IN NIGERIA

The history of Nigeria football development and organization is, of course, the history of Nigeria football, which dates back to the early part of the twentieth century. It is recorded that football was first introduced into Nigeria by British colonialists at about 1914 – the year of the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates by Lord Frederick Lugard, then Governor -General. The man behind the introduction of football into Nigeria was Baron Mulford, a Briton who organized weekly matches between European and Nigerian youths in the area known then (and now) as Lagos.

Two decades-and-half later, the idea of the formation of a body to govern football in Nigeria was initiated by the likes of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who would later become one of the founding fathers of independent Nigeria and the first President of the Republic. Dr. Azikiwe was not just a sports enthusiast; he was an active sportsman. Others who teamed up with him were Mr. R. G. Marshal, Chief Etun Bassey, Dr. Isaac Ladipo, Baron Mulford and Mr. D. H. Holley. However, the realization of this lofty dream was delayed by the outbreak of the World War II in 1939, when Hitler’s soldiers marched into Poland.

The dream of these personalities was eventually realized in 1945. Following the end of the World War II, the Nigeria Football Association was established, also largely by colonialists. Dr. Azikiwe, then a Member of the NFA, led a delegation of the Association to the then Governor –General, Sir Arthur Richards, and appealed to him to donate a trophy that would be competed for by teams throughout the country. The Governor’s Cup competition, today known as the Federation Cup, was born. On November 7, 1945, Marine FC beat Corinthians 1-0 to clinch the first Governor’s Cup.

In 1949, the first Nigeria national team came into being, and travelled to the United Kingdom to play series of friendly matches. Playing barefooted, the team impressed and in fact, there was record attendance at some of their matches. The first international match involving Nigeria took place on October 8, 1949, when the UK Tourists beat Sierra Leone 2-0 in Freetown.

On April 24, 1959, the NFA became affiliated to the continental body CAF, and the following year, to the world body, FIFA. Three months later, the country was invited for the first time, to participate in the qualifying series for the FIFA World Cup finals. This was for the 1962 finals staged in Chile. After flag independence in 1960, the administration of Nigeria football fell on the shoulders of Nigerians, with Mr. Godfrey Amachree becoming the first Nigerian Chairman of the NFA.

On January, 8, 1972, the first National League competition flagged off, and on December 4 of the same year, the National Stadium, Lagos was opened with the Green Eagles defeating Mali’s national team in an exhibition game. On January 8, 1973, Nigeria won her first continental honour by scooping the soccer gold of the 2nd All –Africa Games in Lagos. That team was captained by Victor Oduah.

In 1963, Nigeria first participated in the Africa Cup of Nations, but it was a first round shocker with the team downed 4-0 by Sudan and 6-3 by Egypt. The team which was born as UK Tourists in 1949 and later became the Red Devils before changing name to Green Eagles, and today is known as Super Eagles, did not qualify for the competition again until 1976, when the Green Eagles won bronze in Ethiopia with a marvelous performance that included defeat of then mighty Zaire (now DR Congo), Cup holders.

After 32 years of trying, Nigeria qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in 1994. The Eagles triumphed over Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria in the final round of qualifying series, a stage where it had fallen several times previously to the likes of Tunisia, Algeria and Cameroon. In Dallas, Texas on June 21, 1994, the Eagles beat Bulgaria 3-0 in Nigeria’s first match at the World Cup. The goals were scored Rashidi Yekini (of blessed memory), Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke.

In an impressive debut at the World Cup finals, in the USA, the Eagles topped their group that also included two –time winners Argentina and Greece: Vs Bulgaria (3-0), Vs Argentina (1-2), Vs Greece (2-0). Reaching the Round of 16 was seen as a good performance, especially after world football –governing body FIFA named the Eagles the second most entertaining team of the championship (second to winners Brazil).

The Super Eagles has since then played at the 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 finals, only failing to make it to Germany 2006. The team reached the second round at France ’98 but failed to make it out of the group stage at Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010. At the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, the Super Eagles defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina, drew with Iran and narrowly lost to Argentina to reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 1998. At that stage, they lost 0-2 to France in Brasilia.

Nigeria have now won three Africa Nations Cup finals (1980 at home and; 1994 in Tunisia and 2013 in South Africa),  and played in the Olympic Games six times (1968, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2008). In 1968, the Eagles sensationally drew 3-3 with ‘almighty’ Brazil at the Olympics in Mexico City. And on August 3, 1996, Nigeria shocked the world, becoming the first African nation, and the first non-European country in 68 years, to win the Olympic gold, beating Argentina 3-2 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Heroes of that triumph include Nwankwo Kanu (two-time African Player of the Year, in 1996 and 1999), Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha (former Captain), Victor Ikpeba (1997 African Player of the Year), Garba Lawal (another former Captain), Daniel Amokachi (presently Assistant Coach of Super Eagles), Celestine Babayaro, Tijjani Babangida, Dosu Joseph, Wilson Oruma, Uche Okechukwu (former Captain) and Sunday Oliseh (also former Captain).

In 2008, the Nigeria team picked the silver medal at the Olympics in Beijing, losing the final 0-1 to Argentina. The other teams have also made their mark. The Senior Women’s Team, also known as Super Falcons, first took part in the FIFA World Cup finals in 1991, and then played in the finals again in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. In 1999, the Nigerian girls reached the quarter finals. The team has also played in three Olympics: 2000, 2004 and 2008 and has also won six of eight African Championships since 1998.

The U-20 Men’s Team has won the FIFA U-20 World Cup silver in 1989 and 2005, and bronze in 1985. The team was the first to qualify Nigeria for a FIFA tournament, in 1983. It has also won six African titles: 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005 and 2011. But the U-17 Men’s Team has brought the most glory, winning the global title in 1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013.

Even FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, hailed the players’ ball skills and determination after they conquered the world for a record fourth time in the United Arab Emirates, in November 2013. The U-20 Women’s Team has played in all FIFA World Cup finals in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, reaching the final in 2010 in Germany and in 2014 in Canada. The U-17 Women’s Team has qualified for and played in all four FIFA World Cup finals held so far – 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, reaching the quarter finals in the last three editions.

The Beach Soccer Team, known as Supersand Eagles, won the African Beach Soccer Championship in 2007 and 2009, and has also played in four FIFA Beach Soccer Championships (2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011), famously reaching the quarter finals and coming close to beating four-time world champions Brazil in Italy in 2011. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Supersand Eagles won the high-profile invitational tournament hosted by Nigeria (COPA LAGOS).

At its Annual General Assemby in Makurdi, Benue State in July 2008, the Congress approved the change of name from Nigeria Football Association to Nigeria Football Federation, and the bill to formally effect that change is making good progress at the National Assembly.

The NFF administration led by Aminu Mohammed Maigari (2010-2014) showed great passion and commitment to the welfare of national team players, men and women. It has also had to cope with a multiplicity of National Teams (Super Eagles, Dream Team, Flying Eagles, Golden Eaglets, Super Falcons, Falconets, Flamingoes, Supersand Eagles, Home-based Eagles, Futsal Eagles, U-15 Boys and U-13 Boys).

Servicing these teams has not been easy, which is why the NFF is always in need of more money. The fostering of an aggressive marketing drive was therefore, inevitable.

 

The immediate past administration (headed by Aminu Maigari) articulated a well-defined structure for football administration at the centre, adopting the FIFA and CAF format, with a General Secretary, Directors of Technical, Competitions, Finance and Admin and Marketing and other senior officers to co-ordinate the divisions, departments and units.

The sub-committees have been empowered and meet regularly to fashion policies for the development of the game; coaches and referees have been sponsored to refresher courses home and abroad, which the Federation sought vigorously for, and the push for more FIFA Goal projects is for the best interest of Nigeria football.

On the international front, Nigeria has over the years gained immense respect from her teams always being at competitions. FIFA is now always sure that Nigeria would be at the ‘majors’, and this has enhanced the nation’s image. Apart from winning several trophies on the international front, the world will always remember the scintillating displays of the U-23 team at the Olympics in China in 2008, the amazing football artistry of the Golden Eaglets at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013 and the effervescent displays of the Falconets at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany in 2010 and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2014.

The past administrations, like the present one, vehemently defended the Statutes as the Rule Book governing administration of football.

PAST PRESIDENTS OF NFF

 Baron Mulford (acting)                                      1945-1947

Captain D. H. Holley                                           1948-1950

Andrew G. Marshall                                            1950-1954

Pius Anthony                                                        1955-1956

Father Dennis Slattery                                        1956-1959

Allen 1959-1960

Godfrey Amachree                                                1960-1961

Francis Ogunmuyiwa                                           1961-1962

Louis Edet                                                               1962-1963

Mustapha Adewale                                                1963

Alfred Osula                                                            1963-1964

Francis Giwa-Osagie                                             1964

Ishola Bajulaiye                                                     1964-1965

Chuba Ikpeazu                                                       1965-1967

Godfrey Amachree                                                1967-1971

Col. C. K. Lawson                                                   1971

Commodore Edwin Kentebbe                             1971-1973

Justice Ademola Adeoba (acting)                       1972

Col. Kola Falope (acting)                                      1972

Brigadier Folusho Sotomi                                    1973-1974

Sunday Dankaro                                                    1974-1981

Col. Mike Okwechime                                           1981-1982

Commodore Edwin Kentebbe                             1982-1984

Grp. Capt. Anthony Ikazoboh                             1984-1987

Grp. Capt. John Obakpolor                                 1987-1988

Justice Chuba Ikpeazu                                         1988-1989

Effiom Okon (interim)                                          1989

Commodore Anthony Ikazoboh                          1989

Yusuf Ali                                                                   1989-1991

Effiom Okon                                                            1991-1992

Amos Adamu (Sole Administrator)                    1992-1993

Air Commodore Emeka Omeruah (rtd)             1993-1996

Col. Abdulmumuni Aminu (rtd)                          1996-1999

Anthony Kojo Williams                                          1999-2000

Brigadier-Gen Dominic Oneya (rtd)                    2000-2002

Ibrahim Galadima                                                   2002-2006

Sani Lulu Abdullahi                                                 2006-2010

Aminu Maigari                                                          2010-2014

Amaju Pinnick                                                           2014 -

 

 

 

PAST GENERAL SECRETARIES OF NFF

J. Collinson                                                             1945-1947

B. Allen                                                                    1947-1959

Effiom Okon                                                            1959-1960

Adetayo Awolesi                                                     1960-1961

Oyo Orok Oyo                                                         1961-1963

Luke Emejulu                                                         1963-1964

Alex Oni                                                                   1964

Herbert Omokhaye                                                1964-1965

Paul Okezie                                                              1965-1967

Oyo Orok Oyo                                                         1967-1971

Tunji Fagbemi                                                         1971

O. C. Achebe                                                             1971-1973

Dan Enajekpo                                                           1973-1974

Tunji Fagbemi                                                           1974-1975

O. C. Achebe                                                               1975-1976

Numa Uzoh                                                                 1976-1977

Funsho Oni                                                                  1977-1978

Yinka Okeowo                                                             1978-1979

Ayo Alabi                                                                      1979-1981

Tunde Olushile                                                            1981-1982

Yinka Okeowo                                                              1982-1983

Lancelot Ayorinde                                                       1983-1984

Patrick Okpomo                                                           1984-1987

Tunde Fabunmi                                                            1987-1988

Tunji Fagbemi                                                               1988-1989

Patrick Okpomo                                                            1989-1990

Momodu Kadiri                                                             1990-1991

O. C. Achebe                                                                   1991-1992

Ahmed Tijjani Yusuf                                                     1992-1993

Sani Ahmed Toro                                                           1993-1999

Ahmed Tijjani Yusuf                                                     1999-2001

Patrick Okpomo                                                             2001-2002

Taiwo Ogunjobi                                                              2002-2005

Fanny Amun (interim)                                                  2005-2006

Bolaji Ojo-Oba                                                                2007-2010

Musa Amadu                                                                   2010 till date