The flag-off for the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season was not all about the tackles traded on the pitch as the leadership of the national football that was in Kano for the official kick-off took time out to pay homage to a former President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima.
The soft spoken Galadima of his Fage town of Kano State seized the opportunity to call for cessation of real and imagined crisis in the nation’s football organisation and also commended the improvements in the management of the league.
The season was flagged off with the official star match between Kano Pillars and Rangers International of Enugu which ended 2-1 in favour of the home side with a late winner clinched by newcomer, Prince Aggrey.
The delegation led by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and included 2nd Vice President and Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC0, Shehu Dikko, General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and some board members including Ahmed Fresh, Ibrahim Gusau and a former board member Ahmed Kawu.
Galadima and his Fage residents had warmly received their guests and set the tone for Amaju to offer the board’s appreciation for the moral support the board have so far received from their host, mentioning particularly his acceptance to serve on the reconstituted NFF Appeals Committee.
In his brief remarks, the LMC chairman narrated a touching story that revealed Galadima’s contributions to the development of Professional Football League in the country. Dikko said, “I remember vividly that it was at this same house in 2002 that we sat to discuss the status of the game and draw a road map on the path you want Nigeria football to follow. Today we are reaping the dividends of your guidance and direction and we will forever remain grateful to you for the little successes recorded so far”.
Responding to his visitors’ adulations, Galadima said he has been particularly by the developmental strides recorded in the league and urged Dikko to ensure that the tempo is sustained through the new season.
He also appealed to all football stakeholders to rally round the NFF and LMC to enthrone an atmosphere conducive for the game to thrive.
Galadima said, “football cannot thrive in crisis. If we truly love the game, we must join hands to promote and develop the game. We must appreciate the fact that everyone cannot be happy with this board but we must join hands with them in the interest of our nation to return our football to its past glories”.