BALA Ka’oje, a former Sports Minister, says Nigerians will not forgive football administrators in the country if the country fails to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Ka’oje told newsmen in Abuja that Nigerian football administrators have had so much to learn from the Ivorians’ victory at the 2015 AFCON.
It will be recalled that Nigeria, the 2013 winners, failed to qualify for the 2015 edition which Cote d’Ivoire won on Sunday in Equatorial Guinea.
However, Ka’oje, while reflecting on the championship, said there would be no forgiveness for the Nigerian football administrators if the AFCON ticket eluded the country the second time in a row.
“I believe that the football administrators have learnt something from the victory of the Ivorians at the just-concluded AFCON.
“The victory of the Ivorians and the performance of the Ghanaian team show that there is a very good working relationship between the players and the administrators of the game in their respective countries.
“So, I expect that our own administrators have learnt something because the relationship between the players and the administrators is key to success,’’ he said.
The former minister said time has come for football administrators to re-assess themselves, especially as it concerns the now regular leadership crisis in the Nigeria Football Association (NFA).
Ka’oje said the leadership crisis was capable of denying the country the AFCON 2017 ticket if it was not resolved before the commencement of the qualifying campaign.
“The leadership crisis will affect our qualifying campaign if it is not resolved soon. This is the best time the characters involved should come together.
“Nobody cares to consult us. They believe they know it all and if this is not resolved we may not qualify again.
“Those in charge of sports and football in particular should sit up and take up the challenge, because we don’t want to hear any excuse if we do not qualify for 2017 AFCON,’’ he said.
Ka’oje urged football administrators to always do the right thing to guarantee a better performance from the players at all times.
He also advised players to show commitment and determination during national assignments.
“It was those qualities which made Cote d’Ivoire to win the 2015 AFCON trophy.
“The game ended up with penalty kicks, and it was clear that determination was at play on both sides.
“So, when we look at the issue of determination, it is clear again that this is what we are lacking in our team in Nigeria.
“Our players need to know that they are representing their country whenever they are on national assignments and that the country needed nothing else from them other than commitment.
“They must learn from the Ivorian players and improve on the way they play for their country,’’ he said.