The President of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers, NANPF led former Nigeria international, Tijani Babangida MON has unveiled the union’s plans to set up the “Footballers Welfare Trust Fund”.
Speaking with footballlive.ng the former Super Eagles winger said:
“the Union current desire to set up the Trust Fund is a follow up of the initial attempt made by the Players Union, to lunch the Players Welfare and Rehabilitation Fund precisely on December 12, 2012 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
“Let me harp on the stark reality facing the union’s inability to address the multiple health challenges and other socio- economic conditions of both current and ex players in Nigeria, as a result of the union’s inability to access basic statutory funding options from the system in addressing fundamental welfare challenges of players and their dependents in line with global football practice.
“Its no longer news that we have scores of players, both current and former facing real hardship, unable to meet their basic needs.”
He lamented that, “a great number of former players have died from one form of sickness to another, and in most cases it is as result of their inability to access medical facility due to lack of fund.
“Why one may acknowledge the fact that some of our players have lived recklessly, without bothering and planning for their future, it is also true that those who may wish to plan cannot not also access the requisite fund to do so, as a result of the heavyweight indebtedness of clubs to players and coaches.
“It is on record that more than half a Billion naira is being owed players and coaches across board for the past eight years only cases that were officially reported to the arbitration committee of the NFF.
“The pitfalls facing professional footballers are global in nature. But elsewhere, there are inbuilt mechanism of social security like the Footballers Pension Scheme, Health Insurance Scheme, Education and Training Scheme. etc put in place to safeguard the future of players.
“I think the time has come for us to take our destiny in our hands by taking full responsibility.The Union has therefore taken the initiative to launch the Footballers Welfare Trust Fund to amongst other objectives, advance the education of Players (current and former), promote the good health of Players, Provide relief for players and their dependents who are in conditions of need, hardship, and distress, support and promote community participation and healthy recreation, help to facilitate and contribute to the funding of the Footballers Pension Scheme and others.
“Furthermore, the new face of the union, under my leadership watch is no doubt a key factor in relaunching, the Footballers Welfare Trust Fund.
“The NANPF of toady can boast of a sizeable number of high profile Nigeria footballers both within and outside of Nigeria who are very willing to serve and support the Union.
“The Union will definitely use the collective images of our branded ex international footballers and current professional footballers in the league to effectively facilitate and drive the process of relaunching the Footballers Welfare Trust Fund building on the solid foundation of a Board of Trustees that will command respect and confidence of the people based on Accountability, Integrity and Transparency.”
The following Football stakeholders has already been contacted and agreed to serve as members of trustees of the FWTF:
Abba Abdullahi Yola , (chairman,) Tijani Babaginda, (vice chairman), Chikelue Ileonyosi, (reps of NFF president) Kanu Nwankwo , Mutiu Adepoju , Abba Mukthar , Patrick Pascal , Austin Popo Secretary, Abdul Lawal (legal adviser).
The body will be officially unveiled to the media in Abuja on 30th of July 2019.