A former Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum, to sheath their swords in the interest of Nigerian football and allow the players to concentrate on the task ahead. NFF and Waldrum have been at each other’s jugular calling themselves unprintable names in the media. The Falcons will play their first game against Australia at the World Cup on Friday, August 21.
Speaking with Tribune Sports in Abuja, Dalung said the war of words between the warring parties is a recipe for failure as the girls are already distracted going to the World Cup. He said no administrators worth his salt will take the issue of player welfare with levity and expect them to perform wonders when their psyche has been affected.
“You see there is something Nigeria must understand in sports administration. For a sports administrator to be successful, he must prioritise players or athletes’ welfare. He must also recognise that sports is a very fragile investment. You can put billions in the training of a team and it can evaporate in a second.
And what do I mean? For example, you can put N500 million to develop or train a potential medal-winning athlete for Olympics. After this investment, you need to keep a stable tempo on his state of mind, put him on the track, monitor him and get results. If you injure the feelings of an athlete minutes before he goes into the competition properly, you are going to lose your whole investment. It is a very fragile investment.
“If we want to maintain our integrity as nine-time African champions, we must address the current in-house fighting between the NFF and the coach which is a recipe for doom because the players are going to be at the receiving end. If the coach is not happy, there is no way the players will play well. The players derive their inspiration from the body language of their coach. So NFF must in the interest of the nation and the passion that Nigerians have for football bury the hatchet and look at the competition. Every other thing can be done after the competition,” the former minister told Tribune Sports.