BY KUNLE SOLAJA
The fear of possible backlash has been the major reasons football officials have been reluctant to correct the foundation date of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), which until 11 years ago, was known as the NFA.
Presentations of verified documents have been made to successive regimes since 2003. Each regime claimed acceptance of the actual foundation date might put to ridicule, the football body.
For instance, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdulahi, the NFF chieftain from 2006 to 2010 and now a governorship candidate of the APC in November Gubernatorial Election in Kogi State on November 21, expressed fears about the possible global reception of NFF reversing its foundation date.
What he said 11 years ago may still be very valid as successive heads of the NFF have been reluctant to examine the issue.
It should be noted even FIFA always adjust their record books each time new facts emerge invalidating existing ones.
There have been several instances. Some are listed below:
First Hat-trick of the FIFA World Cup
On November 10, 2006, FIFA officially acknowledged that America’s Bert Patenaude scored the first hat trick of the World Cup.
Before then, for 56 years, FIFA records and vast majority of books on the World Cup gave the credit for the first hat trick to Guillermo Stabile of Argentina.
Another discrepancy that was cleared up by the FIFA press release is that Oldrich Nejedly of Czechoslovakia had been awarded a goal.
Nejedly is now credited with all three of his country’s goals in their 3-1 victory over Germany in the 1934 World Cup semi-final in Italy, which constitute the sixth hat trick in FIFA World Cup history.
Nejedly’s new total of five goals makes him top-scorer outright of the 1934 FIFA World Cup, ahead of Edmund Conen (Germany) and Angelo Schiavio (Italy), with four goals apiece.
Fastest Scorer of FIFA World Cup
For 12 years, FIFA claimed that Englishman, Bryan Robson was the fastest marksman in the World Cup history. Thanks to the goal he scored within 27 seconds in a game against France at the Spain’82 World Cup.
The fact held until 1994 when a British television company, Trans World International came up with evidence to the contrary and provided proof that the honour belonged to the Czech player, Vaclav Masek who put his team ahead 1-0 only 15 seconds into the match against Mexico on June 7, 1962 at the Chile ’62 World Cup.
Most Capped International Player
The former England goalkeeper, Peter Shilton was also wrongly believed by FIFA to be the player with the most international appearances for years.
At the time, Peter Shilton had chalked up 125 caps. But in 1995, the Saudi Arabians came up with new facts that their striker, Majed Abdullah had broken Shilton ‘records’ by more than a few.
The Saudi Arabian FA sent to FIFA documents that proved that their player had had 147 international appearances and that was 22 more than the 125 FIFA attributed to Shilton.
FIFA in a publication on page 10 of the January 1995 edition of FIFA News acknowledged the fact and promptly put the Saudi player as the most capped in the world.
First Official Publication of FIFA disputed
Also, the world football governing body had believed for several years that their first official publication was made in 1929.
But in the FIFA Magazine edition of January 1988, the federation bowed to the views of respected football historian, Paulo Godog who provided evidences that FIFA’s first official publication was in 1905, a year after the body was founded.
If the global body can admit its error and correct it, why can’t an affiliate do the same and put its records straight.
The improper record keeping has always been the bane of sports development in Nigeria.