By Abiodun Adewale.
The crisis that has rocked the player union in the country took a new twist Thursday, when a coalition of active footballers across the different tiers of the men and women’s leagues formed a new body, Concerned Group of Active Nigeria Professional Footballers, to run their affairs, The PUNCH reports.
This comes after a move by the Nigeria Football Federation’s Reconciliation Committee to settle the lingering issues between the warring factions All Nigeria Football Players Union and the Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria, last month.
A statement titled ‘Concerned Group of Active Nigerian Professional Footballers (CGANPF) to set up players body’ dated Wednesday April 26 and signed by its secretary and captain of Sunshine Stars FC, Sunday Abe, disclosed that the group was borne out of the need to take full responsibility in the governance structure according to best global practices, having realised the failures of the existing players unions to accommodate the current players.
“As serving football players, our decision to form the union is equally not out of place to mention the ongoing lingering crisis amongst the existing players unions dominated by former footballers, more enmeshed in the politics of the game than its professionalism, with its suffocating effect on the general wellbeing and welfare of players and especially that of the active professional footballers,” the statement read in part.
“The players body shall be strategically and deliberately fashioned after the governance and administrative structures of the foremost and most successful players body in the world, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) in England with the players governance board made up of 100 per cent current or active football players, while its operational board will be driven by a CEO who shall be an ex- footballer with the requisite knowledge and experience appointed by the board to promote more of players’ professionalism, development and welfare, above every other considerations,” the statement added.
Chairman of the new body is Rivers United captain, Augustine Festus, while his Plateau United counterpart, Golbe Elijah, is vice chairman.
Other members include league veteran and Kano Pillars skipper, Rabiu Ali; Nasarawa Amazons’ captain, Maurren Tovia Okpala and Joy Jerry of Changchun Dazhong Zhuoyue Women FC of China.