Nigerian leader reverses ban on national football team

07:51, July 06, 2010      

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The Nigerian government on Monday rescinded its decision that the country should withdraw from all international football competition for the next two years.

The decision to lift the ban was taken at a closed-door meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at the State House on Monday afternoon.

Presidential spokesman Ima Niboro said in a statement reaching here that the government took the decision based on the assurances by the NFF to evolve an enduring football development program for the country.

"NFF at a meeting with President Jonathan today tendered unreserved apology to the president and the Nigerian people on the dismal performance of the country's football team, the Super Eagles, at the World Cup appearance," the statement said.

"They also informed the president of their decision to disband the team, and address the numerous shortcomings evident in the management of football in Nigeria," it added.

"They assured the president of their commitment to evolving an enduring football development program, and growing a new senior national team that will bring glory, rather than consistent embarrassment to Nigeria on the world stage," the statement said.

"They informed the president that as a first step, they have proceeded to put their own house in order by removing the former leadership of the NFF, and replacing it with an interim leadership, " it added.

"Based on these assurances, and the appeals of well-meaning Nigerians, including former leaders, President Jonathan has decided to review the earlier two-year ban on the country from all international football competitions," the statement said.

The spokesman said the review would enable other categories of Nigerian players to participate in global football competitions, while a new senior national team is being developed.

According to him, the president has directed the Sports minister to call a meeting of all relevant stakeholders to resuscitate football academicals and other talent spotting outlets to produce a new crop of footballers and other sportsmen for the country.

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