The Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria [APFON] have declared their ‘total support’ for the candidature of Segun Odegbami to run for the FIFA Presidency even as they have called on Orji Uzor Kalu, the other Nigerian also in the race to step down.
The umbrella body for active and retired players in the country argue that Odegbami is better qualified to contest for the exalted position and should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerian and Africans as a whole.
APFON Secretary, Austin Popo, told Premium Times in Lagos that in terms of successes in business and politics, Kalu stands over and above Odegbami but when it comes to football, the former Abia governor is miles behind the ex-Green Eagles skipper.
He said: “APFON like to acknowledge Orji Uzor Kalu for his contribution to governance in Abia State, his successes in business and his role with Enyimba when he was governor.
“However, this is football matter that requires a person vast in the game and its affairs. This time it is not about money.”
Mr. Popo, while admitting that Kalu also has the right to contest for the FIFA top seat, pointed out that Odegbami would not struggle for a business or politics related position with the ex governor hence he should do what is ‘right’
“Kalu should give way please for the sake of Nigeria, the generations of football players that have served and serving the country and the entire youths of the country. We appeal to him to give up his ambition and support the man who embodies football through and through,” the APFON scribe submitted.
On their part, former Nigerian players Ganiyu Ajide and Tajudeen Disu appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation to give Odegbami the necessary backing to support his ambition as the country will definitely benefit in the return.
A long list of achievements by Odegbami which sells him as a better candidate was also reeled out by the AFCON executives who revealed that they already have the Trade Union Congress support and would be writing to relevant government bodies including the Senate, House of Reps and Presidency in the coming days to further drum support for their preferred candidate.
FIFA is expected to conduct fresh polls in March 2016 to elect a new president to replace Sepp Blatter. Just like Odegbami, ex-footballers like Luis Figo and Michel Platini have shown interest in becoming the next FIFA boss.