Former players back government ban on international football

16:38, July 02, 2010      

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The decision the country's football team will be banned from competing announced by Nigerian president will yield positive results for the country, former Nigerian football players said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan announced on Wednesday that he has banned the national football team from competition for two years as punishment for their poor World Cup compaign.

The ban will affect the Falconets and the Flamingos who are preparing to feature at the U-20 and U-17 World Cups in July and in September respectively.

Okey Isima, former Green Eagles player, supported the decision. He likened Nigeria's campaign at the World Cup to that of France, noting that the Nigeria Football Federation officials should have resigned, like the French Football Federation boss Jean-Pierre Escalettes, after the Eagles' poor outing.

"The NFF officials should be held responsible for the decay in our football. I'm happy the government took this step and I believe our football has finally got an opportunity to develop," he said.

"Since the ban is coming from us, we should not be afraid of FIFA sanctions. FIFA should be wise enough to know that we are ridding our house of corruption and incompetence," he added.

"My worry is who will administer our football. We should be careful not to bring in politicians who know nothing about the sport," Isima said.

Speaking in the same vein, 36-year-old Jonathan Akpoborie, former Nigerian football player who spent the majority of his playing career in Germany, also agreed on the announcement.

"Nigerians would appreciate the ban when they see an improvement in the domestic league and the national teams," he said.

Source: Xinhua

Special Report: World Cup 2010


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