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Ex-International should strengthen, not threaten the system – Opabunmi

September, 29 202

Former Super Eagles’ forward Femi Opabunmi has taken a dig at ex-international players who are constantly up in arms against administrators at the Nigeria Football Federation, insisting that most of them are misguided and clueless.

“It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including former players of the game at every level, to help strengthen the system to enable a conducive environment for the game to thrive.

“I am shocked at what some of my former colleagues are doing; they threaten the system and create chaos, confusion and crisis every now and then. This negative attitude and despicable activities do not befit their status.”

Opabunmi, who won FIFA U17 World Cup silver medal for Nigeria in 2001 before playing at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals in Korea/Japan, insisted that doing the hard work is the challenge for those people who believe it is easy to destroy than build, but stated that posterity will judge harshly on those who create toxicity instead of making the industry flourish for the benefit of all.

“From what I have seen, the present NFF administration led by Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick is the best in the history of the game in Nigeria. They have been doing wonderful things and have given ex-internationals their due. No other administration has employed more ex-internationals in the office and on the field, and recognized and honoured them more than the Pinnick administration.

“Recently, they honoured the Super Falcons of 1999 at their Awards ceremony. They have honoured the 1980 Green Eagles and 1994 Super Eagles. People like Austin Eguavoen, Garba Lawal, Abdulrafiu Yusuf, Siji Lagunju, Garba Lawal, Nasiru Jibril and others are working in the NFF secretariat. Joseph Yobo, Alloy Agu and Pascal Patrick are in the Super Eagles, and Ann Chiejine and Wemimo Mathew are also in the Super Falcons. Some of my colleagues are also in different committees. What else do we want?”

Beyond what the administration is doing officially, Opabunmi has only good words for the President of NFF and FIFA Council Member for always personally being there to make life easier for ex-internationals.

“Mr Pinnick is a great man with a good heart. If you have a problem, he would quickly rise to the occasion once he is made aware of it. I know what he has done for myself and Wilson Oruma in his personal capacity even though he insists we don’t mention it.

“Ex-internationals should be concerned with working in tandem with the NFF to move the game forward and build an even more virile football industry, rather than going around trying to cause crisis and chaos. It does not speak well of us.”

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