By Jacob Ajom

The battle for the soul of Nigerian football is getting keener as the number of aspirants for the office of president of the Nigeria Football Federation shot up by one yesterday, following the declaration by UK-based entrepreneur and founder of Team Nigeria UK, David Doherty to contest in the September 30 NFF election in Benin.

Addressing the sporting media in Ikeja, Lagos yesterday, Doherty said he was ready to be the next president of the NFF in order to bring about mass participation, growth and development of football in the country.

Above all, Doherty promised to “not only unite all parts of the country through football but also make it possible for the country to reap the enormous social and economic benefits associated with the industry.”

Continuing, he said, “we are ready to remind the nation that football has the power as a force for good.”

The astute football administrator picked his form last Wednesday. The form has been duly endorsed by four state FA chairmen from across the four geopolitical zones as stipulated by the guideline. They are North Central (Plateau State FA), South South (Edo State FA), South East (Anambra State FA) and South West (Lagos, his State FA).

He presented a seven-point agenda which will form the policy thrust and the very essence of his administration. This include grassroots/youth development; reformation of the women’s game; to intensify investment in the domestic league; 5-year measurable, practical roadmap for genuine football development; infrastructural/capacity building; inclusion/stakeholders engagement and the maximization of the Super Eagles brand.

Doherty believes that “with a five-year development plan, we can have a framework that can impact positively on every community across the country.”

To achieve his ambitious plan, Doherty insisted that, “it will require a continuously evolving organisation, commitment of thousands of volunteers, cooperation and support of our partners and the general sporting public.”

He reckoned that this was a most challenging time for not just Nigerian football, but for the country at large. Therefore, he said, “a new strategy must reflect the purpose of the NFF, with a belief it can change the fabric of the game and tackle long term challenges and to make the biggest possible impact in the years ahead.”

He promised to ensure a reversal to the slow pace with which football was run in the country and adopt a professional approach. “To fulfill our role as governing body, our job is to provide the professionalism to enable the game grow at every level and to support the members in fulfilling their ambitions.”