A former Commissioner of Sports in Osun, Biyi Odunlade, on Tuesday urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to continue to work on all its national teams ahead of future competitions.
The commissioner spoke against the backdrop of the inability of the home-based Super Eagles to qualify for the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) billed for Cameroon.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Eagles lost 3-4 aggregate to the Hawks of Togo over two legs in the final round of the qualifiers.
Odunlade told NAN in Abuja that while Nigeria have a good track record on the continent, the home-based Eagles’ failure has come and should be taken in good faith.
“We cannot continue to be winning all the time. We have a good record when it comes to international football games, especially in Africa. But it is just the way things can go sometimes.
“By now, we should have been thinking of how we will be preparing for CHAN 2020. However, this has now not come to be.
“What it now means is that, in spite of our position in FIFA’s last ranking, where we are third in the continent and 34th in the world, Nigerian teams now need to play with seriousness and determination in
all their games,’’ he said.
The former Sports Commissioner said Nigerians now need to be encouraging the home-based Super Eagles so that they would represent the country very well in future encounters.
He however decried the fact that two of the country’s national teams crashed out of three major championships in the same month, saying something urgent had to be done.
“The home-based Super Eagles crashed out of West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations.
“The Super Falcons who have won the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) nine times also failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Now the home-based Super Eagles again have crashed of the CHAN 2020 Qualifiers.
“The NFF should try and look for the source of the problem, because we cannot continue to be out of major events like these.
“If this failure did not occur, we would not have known the strength of our national teams. So, what the NFF needs to do is to intensify its work in building our national teams,’’ Odunlade said.
He however advised the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, on the need to work with the NFF to achieve enviable records in football and other sports during his tenure.
“The most important thing is that the Minister needs to support and help NFF with funds.
“This will make the federation to work more on our national teams and have them represent us well and make us proud in our future international engagements, ’’ the former commissioner said.