African national football federation should handover financial affairs to private companies

November 30, 2013 9:55 pm0 comments by:

stabilityIt is disheartened to hear constant stories of various African National Federations in wages disputes, unpaid coach salaries, fielding ineligible players and misappropriation of funds. I propose that certain financial affairs of African National Football Federation are handled to private companies.This is of course within FIFA regulation rules.

On 22nd July 2013, IFA passed a decision to lift the suspension of the Cameroonian Football Association (FECAFOOT). The suspension was in place after FIFA provisionally suspended the Cameroon Football Association from all competitions over governance issues.

Recently, a number of nations have fallen guilty to fielding ineligible players in matches. This caused Cape Verde Island to lose their spot in 2014 African WCQ Round 3 and other countries losing 3 points. In total, seven matches were forfeited during the Round 2 of the qualifiers. This brings into question the administration capability in the Continent. It is a worrying development in that these countries were informed before the particular match, players not eligible either by FIFA or by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Despite such information, these countries still go ahead to field such players. You can blame it on desperation to win but it is still an administration error on the part of the National football federation. A private company will not take that huge risk and lose out in financial terms. This is an alarming situation to add to the Cash flow shortage that has been a constant issue.

Cash flow crises is a general problem across all aspects of the Continent and will continue to be so. However, it would cease to be a major issue, if majority of the financial affairs is handled by a private company. It would be great if the company contributes hugely to the local workforce or economy.
The benefit of such partnership is evident with the Ghana National Team. The winning bonus is paid by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). It is not a coincidence that the National Team has not witnessed recently the problems constantly faced now by Nigeria and Uganda, previously by Cameroon.

Ghana was the only African nation to perform to their maximum at the previous 2010 World Cup held in South Africa. This is the reason in my view behind a statement by an African football legend George Weah, just after the 2010 World Cup. He said “Ghana did their best, but the other five teams were not prepared. They were not ready. They performed poorly. He went on to say “Africa has the talent and desire, but if we do not encourage players there will be more setbacks at Future World Cups. We must go back to the drawing board and rectify the mistakes.

At a function to announce the merger of the FIFA World Footballer of the Year and Ballon d’Or awards.

It is 2013 and four of the 5 countries that participated in 2010 World Cup have qualified for the 2014 World Cup. Nigeria is one of the countries that they did prepare very well and look likely be unprepared for 2014 World Cup.

Nigeria’s government has to step in to pay the outstanding wages of the national team Coach Stephen Keshi. The coach and his assistants are owed a total 78 million naira ($ 485,000, 357,000 euros). The wage arrears are for 7 months and caused a problem during the Nations Cup at the beginning of the year and it is still a problem going towards the last month of the year.

The Sports Minister said that it is not their responsibility of paying the coaches. Nigerian Football Federation has the responsibility to pay the wages. But the Nigerian Football Federation relies heavily on the Sports Ministry for their budget and receives little in the way of private sponsorship. Recently, the NFF blamed the reduction in their budget for the sudden cash flow crises. This has resulted in their inability to meet the teams’ commitment.

I can understand the reason for the separation in responsibility between the Sports Ministry and NFF. But the NFF budget is provided by the Sports Minister and it is possible that the deficit is as result of a cut back or misappropriation. However, it would not be a prolong saga if it is handled by a private company. Nigeria is not the only African team struggling to pay the national coach wages.

The Federation of Uganda is struggling to pay the national Coach’s salary arrears for the last 3 months. Uganda Cranes Head Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said he has not been paid salary for three months now, but he is happy with the progress the FA is making in getting this matter solved.

Firstly, the budget will be agreed in advance with any contractual issue resolved prior to signing the documents. There would be measures in place for failure to honor the agreement. This will be resolved in a reasonable time frame and not dragged for ages.

It is time to increase our chances of football success in senior level and take measures to prepare in the best possible way.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012


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