The former African Cup of Nations winner has found it challenging to transform from being a footballer to an administrator
Former Nigerian international Segun Odegbami has blamed the lack of support from stakeholders in the country for his failed bid of becoming the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA, the world’s football governing body.
Odegbami played the game to the highest continental level, winning the African Cup Winners’ Cup with IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan in 1976 and lifting Nigeria’s first-ever Africa Cup of Nations trophy with the Green Eagles four years later.
On an individual level, the former goal-scoring winger was a two-time top goalscorer at the AFCON and was the first Nigerian to make the top three in the African Player of the Year ratings.
But despite enjoying a successful playing career, the 67-year-old has found it tough transitioning into football administration.
In 2015, with FIFA seeking to replace its outgoing President Sepp Blatter, Odegbami threw his hat into the race.
But he withdrew from the elections weeks after because Nigeria Football Federation’s endorsement – a requirement for the nomination – of Odegbami arrived late.
The three-time Nigeria Premier League winner has revealed that his unwillingness to play football politics worked against his ambition.
“We all know the politics in Nigeria and how it is not a demonstration of meritocracy or about who is the best. It is about who knows how to play the game of politics,” Odegbami told Daily Trust.
“So, I failed woefully in the game of politics.
“I never attempted for CAF presidency, but I intended to be FIFA president, but the support was so little here in Nigeria that my plane didn’t even leave the tarmac of Abeokuta. That was unfortunate.”