…We shall resist clubs owing players – Popo
Former Kwara United captain and central defender, Ashifat ‘Brazil’ Suleiman has been elected to lead the state’s chapter of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballer (NANPF). The Executive Committee was inaugurated yesterday in Ilorin.
The body’s Secretary General, Austin Popo, who was in Ilorin to officially unveil the new Executive of the body on Tuesday at the conference room of the indoor sports hall appreciated them for showing commitment to creating a voice for Nigerian players.
According to Popo, “footballers should be aware they have rights whether they are still active or not, urging them to be alert to doing the necessary things as at when due.
Popo pointed out that the body will not relent in its efforts to ensure that the welfare of players in the domestic leagues is given utmost priority. He also pledged that the current trend of clubs owing players will be a thing of the past.
The ex-international urged the players to prepare for retirement even as he informed that the body is introducing a pension scheme that will cater for their cause.
In his own words, the state Chairman of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Mallam Ademola Kiyesola urged the players to build themselves and combine education with their careers so as to secure their futures.
Also speaking, the secretary of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Kwara chapter, Jimoh Bashir commended Popo for leading the campaign of championing the right of footballers, expressing confidence that things will improve soonest.
Alhaji Busari Ishola, the State Football Association Chairman who also lauded the NANPF Secretary General for his selfless actions pointed out that it behoves on players to embrace capacity building so as to be relevant in the society especially when they eventually retire.
Busari, himself a former defender who played in the league in the 80s appealed to club owners in the country and the state sports councils to give relevance to ex-players by assigning portfolios to them in these clubs. He also charged the state executives of the NANPF not to rest on their oars in their bid to make things better for their members.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of certificate and status of the Executive to the acting chairman of the state chapter, Ashifat Sulaiman.
Other members of the state NANPF Executive Committee are former Wikki Tourists of Bauchi defender Taofeeq Babatunde who is the Vice Chairman, the Secretary position went to Ganiyu ‘Oscar’ Balogun, while gangling striker Inawole ‘Balance’ Samuel emerged as the Financial Secretary and the Treasurer is Hakeem Adebisi.