President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Monday advised football administrators in the country to learn to accept defeat in the interest of the immediate environment.
Saraki who gave the advice while receiving the, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura, said that acceptance of defeat should be with the interests of the larger society at heart and not with the intention of engaging in ‘pull-the-house-down’ syndrome when things do not go their way.
In company of FIFA President were NFF, Amaju Pinnick,18 FA presidents from other African countries, and members of the NFF executive committee and management.
“The kind of global recognition we have today, as a result of this historic visit, challenges us to learn to allow peace and stability in Nigerian football,” he said.
“If people lose election, they should learn to accept defeat.
“People used to blame politicians for do-or-die attitude; politicians have moved, it is now football administrators who have this attitude!
“When you lose an election, you should be prepared to wait for the next poll. I call on those who are fomenting trouble or trying to divide the house to stop their act.
“The National Assembly is united in moving to restore peace to Nigerian football and create an enabling environment for the game.”
Saraki, who owns a football club (ABS FC, in the Nigeria National League), said the passion and love of Nigerians for football is incredible.
“Football is a big unifying factor in our country,” he said.
“As governor of a state, I set up a football academy because there are so many talents out there waiting to be nurtured.”
Earlier, Infantino called Nigeria “a great country in a great continent”, adding:
“I was impressed coming from the airport on Sunday and seeing so many kids playing football on both sides of the road.
“That shows Nigerians not only love football, they live football. There is great passion and great tradition, but there is need for unity and stability.
“I was elected on pledges of reforms, transparency and to develop the game.
“I am happy that Samoura accepted to be secretary-general and the executive council endorsed her, because her choice said something for inclusion, gender equality, diversity and the future that we promise.”
Pinnick reiterated that the visit, the first time that both the FIFA president and secretary-general would travel together on a non-football competition assignment, underscored the reckoning that Nigerian football commands globally.
He acknowledged the role of the national assembly in re-defining Nigeria football development, saying that peace is key to true growth.
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