Arsenal FC delegation visits NFF

A delegation of English Premiership side, Arsenal Football Club on Monday paid a courtesy visit to the Secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation, commending the huge following that the club commands in Nigeria – which could be the largest in any other country in the world apart from England.

NFF’s Acting General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu received the delegation and informed the Arsenal delegation that football is an intense passion in Nigeria which some commentators even elevate to a religion at times.

Amadu said: “I heartily welcome you to our great football country, a nation of 167 million passionate football fans who come together and identify with themselves much better when the issue on the table is the round leather game.

“Two years ago, Manchester United and Portsmouth delegations were pleasantly surprised at the reception they got from ordinary Nigerian ball fans in this country.

While observing that indeed, apart from Europe and North America, and some parts of Asia, Arsenal’s most passionate supporter-ship must be within Nigeria, Amadu urged the English club to be ready to provide advice to the Nigeria Premier League and technical support to some Nigerian Clubs.

“This visit, I want to observe, will definitely provide a strong platform for a much better relationship between the English Premier League (EPL) and the Nigeria Premier League (NPL). Incidentally, the NPL is just returning firmly to its feet after protracted crisis and will welcome tips and suggestions on how to re-position powerfully for the upcoming season.

“It is also important that I mention that some of our football Clubs, particularly those in the Premier League, would welcome some form of technical partnership with Arsenal Football Club," said Amadu.

Responding, Arsenal’a Marketing Director, Angus Kinnear said the delegation was overwhelmed by the support for the Club within Nigeria was of the opinion that outside England, Arsenal’s biggest fan base could be Nigeria.

“We are pleasantly surprised at all that we have seen. Ours is a Club with strong values and strong tradition, with over 20 nationalities involved, and we have a Manager who values talent. We also believe in building strength rather than buying," stated Kinnear.

Other members of the Arsenal delegation included Paul Johnson, First Team Travel and Equipment Manager, Shehu Dikko, former NFF Secretary General Ambassador Fanny Amun, Member of House of Representatives Razak Bello-Osagie, David Omigie, John Okusi and Kelvin Ideha.

NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari was represented by Executive Committee member, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, and there were also Directors of Technical and Competitions, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme and Dr Sanusi Mohammed respectively.

Also there were two ex-internationals, Siji Lagunju and Rafiu Yusuf, who presently work in the NFF Technical Department, as well as Nigeria’s FIFA Security Officer, ACP Gideon Akinsola.
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