Feature: Time For NFF to launch Operation Columbus


It is time for the Nigerian Football Federation to launch Operation Columbus – An audacious attempt to win North America 2026 with an ambitious roadmap that looks something like this


Ayo Akinfe

[1] First and foremost, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) needs the presidency on board. We are not a European nation where football is self-financing and is run professionally. If we want to succeed we need President Tinubu aboard

[2] We need to urgently recruit a world class coach like say Herve Renard, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Zinadinr Zidane, etc

[3] President Tinubu needs to put together a consortium of sponsors who will meet all the financial obligations of this project. As happened in the US after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the likes of Dangote, Otedola, Adenuga, Rabiu, Elumelu, Alakija, Onyema, Chukwuma, Ibeto, etc all need to be invited to Aso Rock and signed up to the project

[4] We then need to start the process of filling in the gaps in our squad. Two years is a long time in football and several of our current crop will be past their best come 2026

[5] One player we desperately need to woo is Michael Olise. This team desperately needs a genuine playmaker. This young man, who is currently being sought by Liverpool and Man United is still available as he is yet to play senior football for anyone else

[6] We have some good centrebacks but we desperately need to woo Tosin Adarabioyo. Apart from the fact that he is younger than the 30 year olds Ekong, Ajayi and Omeruo, we need his pace. Today, South Africa showed us that even Bassey is not quick, so reinforcements are desperately needed

[7] Personally, I want to see us revert to a 3-5-2 formation as it allows us to play to our natural strengths of pace and flair

[8] This 3-4-3 formation has shown that we do not have enough talent in the wingback positions. Not enough crosses are coming in from out wide, so clearly more talent scouting needs to be done

[9] Stanley Nwabali has proven that if we search hard, we can stumble upon good goalkeepers. More scouting needs to be done to uncover at least more keeper of such quality

[10] We then need to start a sensitisation campaign as to win the World Cup, we need to believe we can do it. How about coming up with a slogan that sounds like this: Operation Columbus to win the World Cup – A Task That Must Be Done


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