London-based enterprenuer and Team Nigeria UK Founder, David Doherty is one of the aspirants in the race for NFF Presidential election. In this interview, he speaks on his plans and why he is in the race…
What influenced your decision to contest in the NFF election?
Change!! Change from the analog ways of running football. Change from making the footballers who I call the real actors secondary and administrators primary. Change from always running to the Federal Government to beg for fund when in actual sense football can run and fund itself. I can go on and on.
From your analysis or explanation are you suggesting that the outgoing board or present administration has failed in it’s responsibilities?
It is not about condemning the present board. Whether you say this board has failed or didn’t fail is immaterial. It won’t change anything. It won’t add any value to the situation we find ourselves.
I am not in the race to condemn anyone. I’m in the race to provide solutions to the avalanche of problems befalling our football. I wish to state that my position is to improve or build on whatever has been done or achieved by this administration or to provide solutions and fix what has been ignored or left undone.
So what are these solutions you want to bring on?
(Laughs)….I will rather keep that to myself. You don’t reveal or disclose your weapon to the “enemy” before you go into a battle. It’s like exposing your ace before serving it.
I want to believe other aspirants equally have their master plans on how to revive our football and I would be surprised if they have revealed them to you.
Talking about revival, many stakeholders hold the opinion that our football is in a state of comatose, do you share this view?
Again, I say whatever view anyone holds at this point doesn’t or won’t change anything. I believe in moving forward and not picking holes or seeking faults.
However, we are all Nigerians and, like you said, we have our individual opinion of what has happened to our football in the past few years. A large majority of the stakeholders feel that this administration should have done better than it did and that has informed the call for a change.
You do not live in Nigeria, don’t you think this will count against you in the election since your opponents may ask how much of the happenings at home do you know?
Let me quickly say here that in the last three years, I have literally been at home (I mean in Nigeria). It may interest you to know that I bring top football scouts from the United Kingdom to Nigeria quarterly to pick talents for Team Nigeria UK which is a project yours sincerely has been running for years now.
The Team Nigeria project started in the UK and I had to bring it into Nigeria to help our teenagers within the age bracket make a career in football and education in Europe.
It is a combination of football and education with an opportunity of sponsorship for the players/students. As I speak we have assisted quite a number of Nigerian kids towards realizing their ambition and dreams of playing football and schooling.
I must also say that the Team Nigeria project is affiliated to clubs in the UK which gives us leverage to pursue and achieve the individual goals of the kids.
So I have been on ground in Nigeria. I have been working in Nigeria even as I shuttle the UK.
Have you seen the statutes of the electoral committee for the election? Are you qualified to stand for the election?
For now everything seems to be shrouded in secrecy and the reason for this remains a mystery to me or, do I say, to many of the aspirants.
But that will not deter me from pursuing this dream of changing the sad narrative of our football administration. We are waiting to see what the laws will look like to know who and who qualifies to run or contest.
Over time, the NFF presidential election has been assumed to be for moneybags, how prepared are you for this task?
Well I am not a moneybag but I’m in the race. Permit me to say here that this is one of the factors that form part of the sad narrative of our football today.
We must change this mindset or belief. In Europe you don’t have to be a moneybag to bring your service and experience on board in contributing to lifting your country.
We can see the result today. When moneybags are handed the task of running an establishment without having the required knowledge, experience, capacity and contacts the result is where our football is at the moment.
Before voting people into public offices, the voters should try as much as possible to find out the track record or antecedents of the candidates. What have they been doing before the election? What are their achievements? What is or are their background? When you vote people into office on ground of sentiments then, you shouldn’t expect good results or change.
You will be running against some ex-internationals in the election, don’t you think this will pose a huge disadvantage to you?
(Laughs) When the time comes, you will know that I equally played football. You see there are a lot that people don’t know about me. But when we get to that bridge, we will know how to cross it.
You see the election isn’t or shouldn’t be about ex-internationals. Don’t get me wrong. Of course, the administration of the sport requires experienced hands and people who have played the game to excel.
But there’s no guarantee that being an ex-international automatically makes you a huge success. Not all ex-players can make good coaches or managers and not all ex-players can make good administrators.
It is what you have done or have been doing in recent times that should matter. You cannot just stroll in to say you want to lead your federation just because you are an ex-international when you know you have been idle doing literally nothing since you quit the game or retired.
It is not about being an ex-international. It is about what you are bringing on board. Not just your succeess as a player but your experience as an administrator. Have you taken any course on football administration or something related to management? Have you worked closely or working with an FA or football club of high repute? Are you conversant with football development and it’s relationship with international politics and diplomacy? These are the issues. With due respect, it’s not enough to be an ex-international.