Without a strategic action plan by the NFF, nothing will change

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An example of lack of planning is the payment of three months advance salary to coach Sunday Oliseh and his crew – how do you spend money you have not earned?

The Nigerian Football Federation board is nearing a year in office and I am still trying to understand if they are resolving or solving a problem in Nigerian football. On the resumption of the board, the president Amaju Pinnick gave us the impression that this board will be different. This board will befriend big corporations and bring them in as partners, the board will be transparent in its financial dealings and the board promised us a blueprint on the way forward for Nigerian football.

Here is what we know that this board has done – fired coach Stephen Keshi, rehired Keshi, gave him a new contract and then fired him again. The board has taken football referees to London for capacity building; they have taken some coaches and retired players also to London for football match reading course, and  acquired the football software PROZONE. This new energetic board has also fired the Super Falcons coach, and we hear they are thinking of hiring a European to replace the local coach. We also hear that they are interested in hiring Europeans to coach our junior teams. This week they have hired a new coach for the Super Eagles, another Nigerian living abroad with impeccable paper qualifications and a European assistant to help him teach the game. When you look at what this federation is doing, you might be as confused as I am; are they resolving or solving football problems in Nigeria?

These two words (resolve & solve) are synonymous, interchangeable but I will for this article use them in different ways. For now the board has resolved the problem of coaching the Super Eagles, they have successfully replaced a coach that this board did not hire and did not want. Nothing wrong with not wanting a coach you did not hire; a board comes into office having their own ideas of football and a coach is the face of their football ideology. So this board has resolved this problem by hiring Sunday Oliseh. But his hiring has opened up a slew of existing problems that need to be solved and solved fast, or this board will go down as just another Nigerian Football Federation board that is ill-equipped for the serious job of football development.

In management, the process of solving problems is done in six steps; recognize the existence of a problem, gather the facts and data of the problem, create and develop strategic action plan (SAP), implement the plan (SAP), assess after the fact the effectiveness of plan (SAP), and take corrective action to prevent reoccurrence of the problem.

When this board came into being, they recognized that Nigerian football is in trouble, deep trouble. Low on commercial patronage, no real financial source outside the federal government, zero financial accountability or good financial planning, player bonus issues, poorly trained referees and coaches and a federation technologically in the last century. From what the board did in its first few months, showed us that they recognized some of our football problems.

Let me skip the second step in problem solving and go to the third step and ask if this board actually created and developed a strategic action plan to solve Nigerian football problems. I have my doubts if they created some strategic action plan, I might be wrong, but the way they have tried to solve problems might bear me out that they do not have a well thought out plan to solve our football problems. Let me cite an example of a lack of strategic action planning; the NFF sent several referees to England for a refresher course (capacity building). If they researched on how to build good referees, they would have found that good referees are made through continuous forensic match evaluations and not on a one time winter trip to London. A good plan would have been to hire a referees’ assessor working in Nigeria and evaluating referees weekly.

Another example of a lack of an action plan is the paying of three months advance salary to Coach Oliseh and his crew. How in the world would you have that in a good financial plan, how do you spend money you have not earned or how do you pay for no service rendered? There is no strategic action plan that would suggest such. This NFF is again doing things on the fly.

Without a strategic action plan, you cannot properly implement what you did not plan for. The NFF is doing what they like, what is politically expedient; sending referees of their choice or coaches of their choice for capacity building. No one knows the criteria for selecting attendees for these London trips; that is a lack of a plan. Making correct assessment of the effectiveness of some of the actions this federation has taken is almost impossible; the referees are rumoured to be doing well, but is it capacity building or more security at game venues? Our coaches are still having problems making in-game adjustments despite the match reading course in London or the purchase of the PROZONE football software. We wait in a couple of years if the change in Super Eagles coaching is effective or not, but the contract term (three years) for the new coach suggests in my view a lack of strategic planning.

Let me conclude, watching this NFF board is like watching every other NFF board that I have followed in Nigeria; this board never put out a strategic action plan of what they intend to do with the money we earned from the 2014 World Cup (what we hear was the fall out between the president and former secretary general), we have no further details of the terms and conditions of the new Super Eagles coach, we still hear that player bonuses are unpaid, we hear some of the trips for capacity building are sponsored by private companies but the companies are kept as a secret (so how do we say thank you?) and we are still waiting for a financial audit promised at the resumption of the board.

My fellow countrymen that love Nigerian football, nothing has changed and as much as I hate using clichés, “fail to plan, plan to fail” is appropriate for Nigerian football. This board has a tremendous chance at changing football for good in Nigeria, but not having or building a blueprint, a STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN (SAP) to guide us in solving our football problems will haunt them for the rest of their term in office.

Goal.com – Culled from : http://www.goal.com/en-ng/news/8472/the-patrick-omo-osagie-column/2015/07/18/13684982/without-a-strategic-action-plan-by-the-nff-nothing-will?ICID=HP_HN_1

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