(Reuters) – Nigeria are seeking to forge closer links with Germany in an attempt to revive the country’s soccer fortunes and hasten the national team’s development, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) said on Tuesday.
They want to send coaches to German clubs and model Nigeria’s senior league on the Bundesliga, which it considers “the top model league in the universe”, as part of a plan to take Nigerian football to a new level.
“Germany is not only the reigning champions of the world in football, it is also a very strong economic power,” NFF president Amaju Pinnick said on the NFF website (www.thenff.com) following a meeting between federation delegates and Germany’s ambassador to Nigeria, Dietmar Kreusel.
“We keenly desire to partner with the DFB (German Football Federation) and the German League. The NFF is presently doing a lot in the area of development of the game in Nigeria.
“Now we are requesting support for our development programmes for women’s football, as well as capacity building for our referees and coaches” Pinnick added.
Among requests made by delegates to the ambassador were better procedures for securing visas for NFF executives into Germany for football programmes.
Nigeria, once the powerhouse of African football, have endured a tough few years in international competition.
Ranked 10th globally in 2006, they are now 57th in the FIFA world rankings — their lowest since 1999.
In last year’s World Cup they reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1998 before losing to France.
After winning the African Nations Cup in 2013, they failed to qualify for this year’s finals in Equatorial Guinea.
“Our checks have shown that the Bundesliga is the top model League in the universe,” NFF vice-president Shehu Dikko said.
“We have had discussions with the CEO of the Bundesliga, and our plan involves sending some of our club managers to Germany to go and see how it is done in that country.”