By George Aluo
Former Secretary General of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Ambassador Fanny Amun has identified the poor state of playing turfs in the country as one of the biggest challenges facing the round leather game in the country.
Amun, who in 1993 led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U 17 World Cup in Japan told the media yesterday in Lagos that until the country addresses the issue of bad pitches, the country’s football would not be where stakeholders expect it to be.
“Few days to the World Cup some people are already dreaming of Nigeria winning the World Cup. But unfortunately nobody wants to address the problems facing the game in the country. It is when we address the problems that we can truly challenge the world at the biggest stage. For me, our pitches are a big problem. We have bad pitches all over the country and that is why the NFF even find it difficult to get a venue where Eagles would play. We must invest in good pitches if the game must grow in the country.”
Continuing Amun said the NFF should consider taking some games to the Katsina Stadium where there is a good turf as well as the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa.
“I have seen the pitches in Katsina and Yenagoa, they are world class pitches, even though they are not natural grass. The geotech pitches are FIFA approved and playing on them is like playing on a natural grass turf. Bayelsa and Katsina state governments must be commended for constructing the state of the art turfs. Other state governments should go for such facilities since it is obvious that we find it difficult to maintain natural grass. The Nigerian firm that did the job in Katsina and Yenagoa, Monimichelle deserves a pat on the back and should be encouraged to do more of such jobs,” Amun said.
On the Russia 2018 World Cup, Amun said he sees the Eagles doing well but was quick to add that he is realistically not one of those expecting the Cup in the country after the July 15 final.
“We have a young team. A team that can out of determination spring surprise by coming out of the very tight group we have been drawn into. A team that can go further than the second round and surpassing our previous record, but realistically, not winning the cup.”