General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has yet again advised the Golden Eaglets to pay attention to education while pursuing a career in football, even as he charged them to go for goals in their Africa U-17 Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger Republic on Saturday.
Mohammed, an educationist cum sports administrator while addressing the
youngsters on Thursday at the National Stadium, Abuja said it was about time youngsters desirous of professional career in football emulated the likes of NFF Assistant Director (Technical) Mr. Abdulrafiu Yusuf who fell back on academic qualification after injury stalled his career.
“Let me start by commending the technical crew and the backroom staff as well as my colleague, Abdulrafiu Yusuf for a job well done so far and I want to also congratulate you guys for being part of this team,” began Mohammed. “But in as much as we want you to play football, we want you to know that your education is equally important; and we don’t want you to neglect it.
“I was impressed today (Thursday) during our FIFA Female Leadership
Development Programme (FLDP) seminar when our head of women’s football, Ruth David actually singled out Abdulrafiu for being a good example since he was able to combine education with playing football. Injury did not allow Nigerians to see much of Rafiu but he’s better off because he fell back on education after injury forced him out of the game,” he maintained.
He further encouraged the players to make hay while the sun shines, adding their lives as footballers can be likened to tomato that is desirable when fresh and ripe but becomes unwanted when it’s rotten.
“You can’t play football forever and you don’t know how far you can go since injury can come when least expected; make education your Plan B and the NFF is ready to assist you in this regard. We want you to be disciplined and listen to your officials because they are your parents while you are here.”
Speaking specifically on the Africa U-17 qualifier against Junior Menas, the NFF’s scribe said matter-of-factly: “We don’t want you to be under any undue pressure during your match against Niger on Saturday, just go out and do your best; and God shall crown your efforts.”
Meanwhile, Golden Eaglets Head coach, Manu Garba has enjoined his youngsters to take a cue from the U23 team’s inspiring 5-4 win over Japan in their opening Group B match at the Men’s Olympic Football
Tournament Rio 2016 in the early hours of Friday.
The 2013 FIFA World Cup-winning coach during the team’s last training session on Friday’s morning, tasked the lads to imbibe the never-say-die Nigerian spirit when they take on the Junior Menas on Saturday:” I want to announce to you that our U-23 team early this morning beat Japan 5-4 and this should also inspire us when we play against Niger on Saturday; the U-23 team showed good spirit and won despite arriving Brazil shortly before the match; we must ensure that we win our own game here with as many goals as possible on Saturday.”