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Nigerian Football

They Got it Wrong! NFF Not Founded In 1945

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

The phrase: “Founded 1945” adorns the circular emblem of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). It stems from the fallacy that the organisation was established in 1945 even though no one could verify the precise date the presumed event took place that year.

No fact exists to back the dateless foundation except that the present day’s AITEO Cup started as Governor’s Cup that year. The Governor’s Cup had since changed to numerous names such as the Challenge Cup, Coca-Cola FA Cup and later Federation Cup till last season.

However, the link of the establishment of the Governor’s Cup and the founding of what is the NFF today is yet another erroneous belief in Nigeria’s football history.

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Documented evidences point to the fact that the Governor’s Cup was not a product of the then NFA but that of the Lagos and Districts Amateur Football Association (LDAFA) which is today known as the Lagos FA, the oldest football association in Nigeria having been established in 1930 by Henry A. Potter, the same man who founded the NFA three years later.

The LDAFA which already had two other competitions – War Memorial Cup and European Cup – called for entries for the maiden edition of the Governor’s Cup. This can be found in the Daily Times edition of July 30, 1945.

As at the time, football competitions in Lagos were along racial lines. The War Memorial Cup was open to all affiliated clubs and scratch teams affiliated to the LDAFA while the European Cup was for all affiliated clubs of Europeans living in Lagos.

In both instances, the teams paid entry fees of five shillings. The War Memorial Cup later changed to Mulford Memorial Cup to honour the man who did so much for football in Nigeria that he was affectionately called “Baba Eko” (respected elder of Lagos). He was one of the pioneers of the NFA.

Another fact to show that the Governor’s Cup was the creation of the present day Lagos FA can be gleaned from a write up in the Daily Times publication of November  6, 1946 in which the LDAFA Chairman, Frank G. Lloyd wrote that the Governor’s Cup presented in 1945 was in the custody of the LDAFA.

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“This season (1946), as an experiment, invitations were issued by the LDAFA to numerous provincial associations. It is also intended that the Nigeria Football Association shall shortly be re-organised in order that it may provide a more effective vehicle for the experience gained in Lagos to provincial association.”

This proves that as at November 1946, the NFA was not organising the Governor’s Cup.  It was in 1947, when Captain D.H. Holley became the LDAFA boss and also emerged the chairman of the NFA that the NFA began to organise the Governor’s Cup competition. At the annual general meeting of the LDAFA on February 26, 1948, Captain Holley announced the transfer of the Governor’s Cup to the NFA.

Another pointer that the NFF was not founded in 1945 was the fact that it was first affiliated to The FA in England as far back as 1934. A non-existing body could not have been registered by reputable FA in England.

As stated earlier in another story, the first secretary of the NFA, Joseph Mead told the first AGM in 1934 that an application had been forwarded to The Football Association (The FA) in London for affiliation.

That led to another opening in the search for the true origin of what is now known as the NFF. A letter which was dispatched to The Football Association in England by this reporter was responded to by David Berber, the Public Affairs Officer at The FA.

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He wrote in part: “I can advise that the name of the Nigeria Football Association first appeared in the FA Handbook for the season 1938-39 in the list of our affiliated associations. The NFA secretary at that time was F.B Mulford, with a Lagos address.”
That is an indication that the body had existed before 1945. Then a visit to the offices of the oldest football body in the world which will, on October 26, celebrate its 154th anniversary resulted in more startling revelations.

The minutes of the meeting of the council of The FA (England) held at 22 Lancaster Gate London on June 4, 1934 revealed that under item number 10, “The Nigeria Football Association was admitted to membership under Rule 5 of the Rules of the Association”.

The affiliation of the NFA as an associated member of The FA was reported in the Nigeria Daily Times edition of September 14, 1934.

Like FIFA founded in 1904, the NFA went into coma during the World War II. After the 1934 first AGM, the NFA was in a state of inactivity, especially in the period of the World War II when all attention was on the Essential Work Order, according to a Daily Times report of November  8, 1947.

It was 14 years after formation, that the NFA was reconstituted. Even then, that cannot be taken as foundation date just as FIFA, founded in 1904, but inactive for 26 years till the 1930 inaugural World Cup did not take the commencement of its competition as foundation year.

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This is also the case with The FA founded in 1863 but had its first FA Cup match eight years later  in 1871, yet did not claim that as its foundation year.

The first time the phrase “Founded 1945” crept into the NFA letter head in correspondence with FIFA was a letter dated March 17, 1981 announcing a new executive led by Co. Mike Okwechime.  Before then, all correspondences with FIFA had just the affiliation year.

 

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  • The first time the phrase “Founded 1945” first appear  in a correspondence with FIFA was in this March 17, 1981 letter conveying the list of a new board of the NFA led by Col. Mike Okwechime.Copy obtained from FIFA sources.

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Beyond reproach: NFF denies banning Victor Osimhen  

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From Victor Moses To Victor Osimhen, Super Eagles Hope For Another Victorious Ending To Afcon Group Stage  -

The Nigeria Football Federation has described as outright falsehood, reports in some online publications on Wednesday that the football-governing body has slammed a ban on Super Eagles’ forward Victor Osimhen from the team, for his social media outburst few days ago.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi expressed amazement at the reports, saying the Federation has neither instructed a process nor has a process been concluded to ban the player from the National Team.

“The NFF hereby implores the media to join hands with the body to positively resolve issues and then focus on the big picture all the time, rather than needlessly escalate certain matters.

“There was no official communication from the NFF, yet some persons have gone to town to talk about a ban on Osimhen from the National Team. This is not good at all.

“Our focus presently is to resolve all matters around the Super Eagles and be able to look ahead with confidence to the 2025 AFCON qualifiers and the remaining six matches of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series.

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“This is not the time to spread falsehood and foul the public space the more.”

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Nigerian Football

NFF racing against time to meet up CAF deadline for inter-clubs’ registration

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The final match of the President Federation Cup will hold on 29th June as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) races to meet up with the Sunday 30 June CAF deadline to submit the names of Nigeria’s four representatives for the continental inter-clubs competition.

  Only league winners, Enugu Rangers are definitive as at now. They will feature in the CAF Champions League.

Two more representatives, likely from the trio of Remo Stars, Enyimba and Shooting Stars will emerge after Sunday’s league matches.

  The league’s first runners-up will join Enugu Rangers in the Champions League while the second runners up picks one of the two tickets for the CAF Confederation Cup.

 The second ticket will go to the President Federation Cup winners.

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  According to a media release by the NFF, its General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, explaines that the 29 June date was agreed to by both the NFF and GTI in view of the fact that Nigeria have until midnight of Sunday, 30 June to submit to the CAF, the names of the representative clubs in next season’s continental club competitions.

“Having looked closely at our programmes, the stage the men and women competitions are at the moment and the need to submit the names of all our representative clubs to CAF for African Club Competitions next season, ourselves and GTI have reached a consensus for the grand finale of the men and women finals of the President Federation Cup to take place on Saturday, 29th June.

“The venue is the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja. The women’s final will begin at 1pm while the men’s final will commence at 4pm, as has been the tradition for so many years now. NFF and GTI are committed to putting up a great show of this year’s grand finale.”

Meanwhile, the quarter-finals of the women’s competition will take place on Wednesday, 19th June, with Benin City, Asaba and Enugu as host centres.

The semi finals of the men’s competition will take place on Thursday, 20th June, with Abuja and Lafia as host centres.

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Nigerian Football

A three-horse race for two continental ticket is set up after Enugu Rangers league win

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Enugu Rangers have broken loose from the pack as title contenders – Remo Stars, Enyimba and Shooting Stars all blew their chances in the penultimate match days as all lost with identical scorelines of 2-1 in their respective away games.

  The title is gone, now resting in Enugu who are having their second league celebrations in over 30 years. They win the jackpot N150 million prize for their title.

  But the battle is not over for the initial aspiring trio. At best they have the second CAF Champions League ticket to battle for. One of the three will win that on the last match day. The second placed team gets the CAF Champions League slot while the third gets the Confederation Cup ticket.

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Coincidentally, the trio will be at their familiar home ground. As it is, second placed Remo Stars are at advantage to pick a ticket if they can pick a point from their home game with Katsina United. It will be their third consecutive adventure in the continent.

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 The fierce battle will therefore be between third placed Enyimba and fourth placed Shooting Stars.  Both badly need a win to get either the Champions League ticket or that of the Confederation Cup.

  However, Plateau United are lurking and an away win by the Jos team in Aba will not only upset Enyimba, it could land the Plateau United a continental ticket should Shooting Stars lose or draw with Sporting Lagos.

On the other side of the divide, the battle to escape the drop has taken a dramatic twist. As the Sunday matches were on, Sporting Lagos initially thought they had escaped the drop.

 But a turnaround by Bayelsa United who came from behind to beat Shooting Stars change the weather condition for the worst for the Lagos sides.

  They now face an herculean task next weekend in their duel with continental ticket chasing Shooting Stars. The confirmed teams for relegation are Gombe United and Heartland.

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