Decision to cancel 2019/2020 football season was hasty, unjust – Former NFF member

Dilichukwu Onyedimma, a former Executive Committee member of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), says the decision to cancel the 2019/2020 football season is hasty and unjust.

“I can’t really explain what is happening with football in Nigeria, but it is wrong to cancel the entire football season because of the COVID-19 pandemic without making definite plans to see if the leagues can be restarted like some other African countries are trying to do.

“I think the decision was hasty. They (NFF) should have tarried a while, until maybe the end of July or early August, to decide and see if the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will give the go ahead to re-open sports,’’ she said on Sunday in Abuja.

Onyedimma who was a former Chairperson of Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) said the NFF decision was not accepted by some clubs, even while many of them failed to voice their displeasure.

“It didn’t go down well with some clubs, while others grudgingly accepted the league body’s Points Per Game (PPG) decision in ending the league,’’ she told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Onyedimma advised that the NFF should at all times make decisions based on developmental considerations and not on participation in international competitions.

“Our league should not be always about representation in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) inter-clubs competitions, but for the development of the game and the players.’’

She argued that ending the 2019/2020 season in anticipation of beginning the 2020/2021 season in September or October was not a well thought-out decision.

“Are we even sure the ill-wind called coronavirus would have been contained for CAF to hold the next edition of its competitions?

“Personally, I don’t see the possibility of a new season in September/October, if we cannot thoroughly think out the issues involved and find a solution.

“This is because of the stringent safety measures the NCDC have in place, which demand that we have to take all possible precautions to avoid transmission and spread of the virus,’’ Onyedimma said.

NAN reports that the NFF had on some occasions in the past began the new season in October or November.

During those years, the new league season kicked off in December or even January of the following year, with the 2019/2020 NLO and NWPL seasons as examples.

On the Nigeria Women Professional League (NWPL), Onyedinma said NFF should have made a pronouncement on which club would represent Nigeria in the newly-introduced CAF Women’s Champions League.

“This should have been just just like they (NFF) did in picking Kano Pillars to represent Nigeria in the 2020/2021 CAF Confederation Cup.

“The 2018/2019 winners of the NWPL should have been announced as Nigeria’s flagbearers in the maiden edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League.

“I don’t see any reason why there should be a play-off or qualifiers, after cancelling the season, as I read in a publication recently.

“It is not just to now say a different consideration would be used in this league,’’ Onyedinma who is the Acting Executive Secretary of the FCT Social Development Secretariat and doubles as the FCT Director of Sports.