August, 17 2023.
Former Arsenal Manager, Arsené Wenger has again restated his belief that Nigeria has the potential to join powerhouses like Brazil and France in ruling global football, if only the right administrators can be given the chance to manage the nation's domestic component of the round leather game.
Nigeria's British-born, Africa and global football expert, Osasu Obayiwana captured Arsené Wenger's verdict in a Twitter post, following what he called a brief discussion with the Frenchman in the lobby of Sydney's Hyatt Regency, one of the hotel's accommodating officials of football world governing body (FIFA), at the ongoing Women's World Cup in Australia.
"When I told him [Wenger] that I was Nigerian, this is what he said about Nigerian football:
“Nigeria has incredible talents, but they are one of the great underachievers in the world of football” @osasuo posted.
Obayiwana who has been a vocal and stern critic of the underperforming boards of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by Amaju Pinnick and now Ibrahim Gusau, also expressed his unflinching belief that once we can get "the quality of Nigeria’s football governance right and to match the level of inherent in our world-class talents, that's it…”
Another person who was apparently in the company of Wenger, could not help but interject by saying that aside from being on the same level as Brazil and France, the informed world of football knows that Nigeria will be a world power when it decides to get its act right.
During his 21 years at the helm of Arsenal, Wenger earned a reputation of having scouted, nurtured and produced many top class footballers, like Thierry Henry, Kolo You're, and Francesco Fabregas who were picked from obscurity, and were hitherto unsung; www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
At the 2010 FIFA men's World Cup hosted by South Africa, Monsieur Wenger had also told a group of Nigerian Sportswriters covering the Mundial that, Nigeria's inability to make it out of the group phase, was mainly down to the lack of youthful and energetic players in the Super Eagles.
"This could be down to poor developmental or youth programmes, or both. As a country, when last did you celebrate the emergence of a new starlet", he asked the journalists.
Wenger added that for a country to sustain its dominance in global football, it must evolve well regulated football academies or youth programmes, groomed by top coaches, and former footballers, capable of churning out potential world-class players like Kanu Nwankwo, Mikel Obi and lately Victor Osimhen.