By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Nigeria Football Federation has given its word to provide necessary support within its capacity to the African Beach Soccer Union – a body created to channel and develop the game of beach soccer in the continent.
General Secretary of the NFF, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi gave this pledge on Monday when the newly-empanelled African Beach Soccer Union executive team paid a courtesy visit to the offices of the nation’s supreme football-governing body inside the National Stadium, Abuja.
Mahmud Hadejia, president of the union who is also Chairman of the Kebbi State Beach Soccer Association, said the body is determined to ensure even more popularity for beach soccer in the African continent, through the pragmatic encouragement of Clubs and Leagues across the 54 countries.
Praising the NFF for previous support and encouragement of beach soccer across the country, Hadejia promised that the union would rely extensively on the guidance and wisdom of the NFF in its operations while taking caution to avoid conflict situations with other established beach soccer groups and interests.
The union is made up of technocrats, active and former referees, active and former administrators, coaches, marketing experts, media chieftains, enthusiasts and keen followers of the game.
Responding, Dr. Sanusi noted that Nigeria has always been a powerhouse in the African continent in beach soccer, having won the Beach Soccer Cup of Nations twice and finished with silver and bronze medals on several occasions, while the Supersand Eagles have been to the FIFA World Cup on a number of occasions, the latest being last year’s finals in Asuncion, Paraguay.
“Our country has always been strong in the game of beach soccer in Africa, but sometimes last year, the NFF Board took a deep look at things and decided to rest the game for some time because our team has failed to take that important step to fighting for laurels at global level. We opted to work and encourage the game from the grassroots and then see how it would blossom before returning to the international front.
“I am happy that the African Beach Soccer Union is headed by a Nigerian; a hardworking, energetic and enthusiastic young man, with so many other Nigerians in the various committees. We will encourage and support you within our capacity, and I urge you to work diligently and make transparency, probity and accountability your watchwords.”
Also at the occasion were Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme (NFF Deputy General Secretary); Mr. Ayobola Oyeyode (Director of Competitions); Mr. E. C. Kadiri (Director of Finance and Administration); Mr. Ademola Olajire (Director of Media and Communications); Mr. Alizor Chuks (Head of Marketing) and; Ayo Olu-Ibidapo (Media and Communications).
Hadejia’s team included Arc. Taye Olajide (General Secretary); Mrs. Aisha Augie Kuta (Media); Coach Abdullahi Isa (Technical); Adebayo Akande (Competitions); Nasir Auwal (media); Saraki Oladimeji (secretariat); Hussaini Abdullahi (Logistics) and; Olayinka Elebute (Media).