The newly elected chairman of the FCT FA,Mohammed Adam
Mouktar had a one on one with TheBreakingTimes.com to express his plans and visions in developing football in the nation’s capital.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR VICTORY AT THE POLLS. YOU RECENTLY DEFEATED THE INCUMBENT AGAINST ALL ODDS IN THE JUST CONCLUDED FCT FA ELECTION, HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Well, like I answered to several questions such as if I have any fears during the campaign period, I stated that as long as the election is free and fair, and credible, I don’t have any fears. My records stands and speaks for itself. I was very confident that I will come out on top and God’s willing we did. We had a plan and we informed every constituents of our plans and they accepted our plans. So the responsibility is now on our shoulders to begin to work.
YOU CAMPAIGNED WITH THREE POINTS AGENDA AND YOU CALLED FOR PEOPLE TO HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE, IT ALL SEEMS YOU HAVE HIT THE GROUND RUNNING, A VISIT TO THE AREA 3 PITCH FOR EXAMPLE SHOWED THAT MASSIVE CONSTRUCTION HAS STARTED THERE, CAN YOU TELL US MORE?
Yes, it’s true. We were in a state of emergency the way things were going, particularly in the FCT. We want to rebuild from scratch and we felt the facilities were in dire state. We promised that we would galvanize the private sector and well-meaning Nigerians that are willing to contribute to the growth and development of sport. So, the work ongoing there is just to make the environment better. We are hoping to do more and also importantly spread it to other Area Councils.
ONE OF YOUR THREE POINTS AGENDA IS CENTERED ON INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE FTC, THE OTHER IS TALENT HUNT, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS TO UPLIFT THE OTHER AREA COUNCILS. THE CITY CENTER SEEMS TO HAVE ENJOYED MORE CONCENTRATION OVER THE YEARS?
You are very right and it is disturbing, because they are part of the FCT and deserved to be equally treated. We are not going to give preference to anybody. I am my team have gone round to look at the condition of things and it is pathetic because, you will see that they don’t even have a structured team, no training facilities, no basic training materials as little as Balls, cones, even the Coaches need refresher training, education so that they can teach these kids the real basic foundation of modern football. So we intend to look at it on a 360 dimension, because when you look at the whole football structure, we want to look into the coaching education, which in turn helps them to train the players for us to get better results, help us churn out better players, and of course, you need better facilities to achieve that. You cannot teach football on a broken pitch. The equipment like Balls, Jerseys, Training Beeps, and others. Those are the things we are looking into and I can assure you that in the next couple of months, we will begin to invite the public to come see the our humble contributions as we take it step-by-step. We are not saying we would do everything at once, but we can begin to roll out our plans which might outlive us. We are committed, we have a plan and we would make sure we see it through.
ONE OF YOUR THREE POINTS AGENDA IS BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY, IN TERMS OF TRAINING COACHES, ADMINISTRATORS AND OTHER RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS, HAS ANYTHING CHANGED ABOUT THAT?
We have started discussing with partners about our plan to do training, seminars and sensitization at the initial stage. We are currently assessing what we have on ground. Take for example, the Referees in the FCT. We need to know the numbers of Referees in the FCT, their grades, performance and what are they doing. There is a technology that tracks performance and there is the VAR. How many people do we have that have been exposed to it. That tells us what we have as an assessment and what we can do. Then we begin to engage them and say we are going to find a UEFA or FIFA accredited Referee to talk to them more about the game and where the game is headed to. Then he begins to inspire them. That is the existing structure that we have, but how do we recruit or attract other people to that profession. A lot of ex-players, fans, and you even see people working in different sectors as Referees. As long as you put the right things in place, and you put it out there and the terms and conditions are not too stiff, you will see a lot of people showing interest in either being administrators, referees, coaches, and you will be surprised by the growth that you get from people coming in to help develop football. Those are the kind of things we want to begin with. We need an assessment and then we begin to build upon structures that attract new people into the game. For me as I said, if the FCT is charging 50, 000 for an academy to affiliate with it, if we assess and find out that it is high, we would bring it down and that will have ripple effects. For instance, if we used to have fifty clubs affiliated to use, then it will increase to double of that number because of the low fees. If after our four years tenure, if we have 100 clubs with fifty new ones, that is development and a thumbs up to a policy you have introduced to attract new people into the game which bring new people into the game and enhancing the facilities to give assess to more people to play football.
GETTING INVESTORS TO INVEST IN FOOTBALL IS ANOTHER AGENDA OF YOURS, BUT THE BIG CONSTRAINTS HERE IS THAT, THE MULTINATIONALS ARE NOT HERE IN THE FCT, HOW DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS?
It is about having the right people doing that for you. When you have professionals doing that work for you, you could spot out ten multinationals companies that you can start with. Take for example Total. They are sponsoring the ongoing AFCON. Total is not in Abuja, but they must come, because NNPC is here and this is the seat of power. You will find out that if your present yourself well and target them in the right direction, Total wants football, they are already investing in the game. Take another example, Dangote. Yes they have their headquarters in Lagos, but they spend hundreds of millions in advertising. So you can’t just write to Dangote and say you want them to do this or that for you. What are you giving them in return? So your presentation is what will attract him. Rather you are not going to beg him or ask him for favour. You are going to them to say, look, we have six Area Councils, thousands of people come to these stadiums everyday so we are going to give you five spaces for boards across the pitch, we want 5 million for each stadium, let him go and do his findings and if it works out for him as a marketing tools he will do it. That is how you approach people, not just going to them to say give me money, what are you giving them back. Take the Area 3 for example, why can’t we name it say, Zenith Bank Football Park for instance with big bill board that lighten the area at night. They would come and do projects and then put it as their CSR. You have to give them value. It is only when you give them value and show them some level of integrity that they will be interested. There are so many ideas that we can explore. There are a lot of companies that have the money and will be interested in doing it. All they just need is the conducive environment.
SPORTS ADMINISTRATORS HAVE FAILED THE YOUTHS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY FROM YOUR PREDECESSOR, BECAUSE THE CHANGE STORY HAS BECOME AN ANTHEM AND AT THE END, THE PEOPLE GET DISSAPOINTED?
Very good question. It is always going to be challenging and there will always be hurdles. But I am not new to this. I have been in the football business for close to 20 years, and I have succeeded in churning out talents for Nigeria. I can tell you that is probably the hardest part of it, from a private point of view, whereby I am going round the country, picking up talents, budding them and nurturing them and moulding them to attain the highest point of their lives. For me, that is the ultimate dream. From grass to grace. It gives them the opportunity to play for their country and also mentor other players. That gives me ultimate satisfaction. If I can do it at that level, I think I have seen it all and crossed a lot of hurdles in that process. So I will do my best and work with all stakeholders. I am not coming to antagonize or to fight anybody, but we would find reason and we would do it in a very systematic and diplomatic way, whereby it will have a lasting solution, because like you said, I fi do it and after four years I leave, what happens. So we want to leave lasting legacy and build foundation that would outlive us. That is the ultimate objective of what we want to do, so that Nigeria keeps growing in the right direction and our football gives us hope, because these days, you don’t see a lot of talents coming up, and the reason is simply because our football is not growing. That means we are recycling and repeating existing players, which is not good for our football.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WOULD BE YOUR ACHIEVEMENT BY THE TIME YOU HAVE SPENT ONE HUNDRED DAYS IN OFFICE?
We came with a plan. The fact is that we really need to rejig the whole structure. We really need to have a working organizational structure. A Term of Reference for all the Staff working under us for everybody to know their TOR and clear responsibilities. So that everybody can carry out their jobs in the right and proper way. We need to rejig the local league, which we hope will produce the future stars of tomorrow. We hope to really rejig the female leagues as well and have proper structure and an edifice as office for us to operate conveniently. We hope to roll out our blue print and pay visit to organisations willing to partner with us on a Corporate Social Responsibility for some of these projects. Like I said earlier, I am not asking anybody to give us cash of money. All we want is for them to partner with us, we would show them our plan and they would agree to work on a particular projects. They will handle it. So that makes it more transparent than it used to be. Some people are scared to give you money, because you are not accountable. We have taken steps to be accountable, we have fully paid for our website that will be fully operational soon. FCTFA.COM is the domain name. We intend to have all the social media handles, so that our followers can see on a daily basis the progress we are making. That goes a long way in helping us communicate with the stakeholders and partners. We also intend to continue to partner with the media, so that people know where we are headed and what we are doing. That is important for our progress and development.
YOUR PREDECESSOR CAME UP WITH A PROGRAMME THAT CAN BE TERMED LAUDABLE, AND HAS TOUCHED A LOT OF LIVES, THE PRINCIPAL CUP, WHAT ARE YPUR PLANS TO INITIATE MORE OF THESE KINDS OF PROGRAMME CUT ACROSS THE SIX AREA COUNCILS?
Because of my antecedents, I am a result oriented person. When you do a CUP Competition, called Principal’s Cup, what is the end result, what has it produced? You must have an aftermath of any process, like assessment, it is working, are you just doing or it has effects. So we would have that kind of assessment done to know if the current method is working or needs to be rejigged in a proper way whereby it is actually achieving the objectives, which is engaging the kids in school, introducing school sports programme and Cups to encourage them to grow and then producing the talents at the end of the day. So I ask, how many talents have we produced from this school sports programme. That is a question we should ask.