Nigeria: Yusuf Doubts NFF's Readiness to Re-Start Football

23 October 2020

A former Secretary General of the then Nigeria Football Association, Dr. Tijani Yusuf has expressed doubts over the readiness of the Nigeria Football Federation to re-start football amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The Executive Committee of the NFF in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, October 20 endorsed a proposal by the League Management Company to fix the calendar for the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League to commence anytime from Sunday, 15th November 2020 and end the season by June 2021, with full adherence to the Federal Government's COVID19 protocols and other requirements as may be prescribed.

However, the sports administrator who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday said he was not sure the football federation had put in place all the necessary measures to safeguard those involved in the sport against COVID-19.

"The question is, have we put in place all the necessary conditions given by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19?.

"In as much as the coronavirus is more rampant in Europe, they have the facilities to handle COVID-19 cases.

"Look at our dilapidated health facilities. We don't even have enough personnel. Obviously, we lack capacity to manage the crisis.

"Are we sure we can handle any upsurge in COVID-19, If football is reopened?," he asked rhetorically.

Yusuf who lectures in the department of physical and health education at the Bayero University Kano, therefore, maintained that if all the necessary safety measures are not in place, nobody's life should be risked in the name of reopening football.

"I don't know what they have put in place. I am sure PTF must have given conditions that they must ensure are in place before football is reopened.

"If they have done that, fine and good, football should resume. But if they have not done that, they should not risk the lives of innocent people.

"It may be argued that COVID-19 here is not as rampant as it is in Europe. However, the question remains, have we done enough testing? How many people have been tested?. I am not sure if even a million out of 200 million people have been tested," he said.

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