By Joy Odor
The African Beach Soccer Union [ABSU] has received the blessings from the Nigeria Olympic Committee, the Nigeria Football Federation, the League Management Company and the FCT Football Association in a bid to grow the game of beach soccer on the continent.
The Union created for the collective bargaining, facilitation, and development of beach soccer across the continent is headed by Mahmud Hadeijia, with the headquarters situated in Abuja, Nigeria.
The leading sports authorities gave their blessings when paid courtesy visits by the Nigerian members of the recently-formed union led by president Hadejia and general secretary Taye Olajide.
While applauding the NOC, the NFF, the LMC and the FCT FA for the past support in the growth of beach soccer, Hadejia appealed for more collaborations to improve the fortune of the game in Africa.
Speaking at the NFF headquarters in Abuja, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the General Secretary admitted joy over the creation of the union and pledged to provide the necessary support at the disposal of the country’s football body.
Sanusi said: “Our country has always been strong in the game of beach soccer in Africa, but sometimes last year, the NFF Board took a deep look at things and decided to rest the game for some time because our team has failed to take that important step to fighting for laurels at global level.
“We opted to work and encourage the game from the grassroots and then see how it would blossom before returning to the international front.
“I am happy that the African Beach Soccer Union is headed by a Nigerian; a hardworking, energetic and enthusiastic young man, with so many other Nigerians in the various committees.
“We will encourage and support you within our capacity, and I urge you to work diligently and make transparency, probity and accountability your watchwords.”
On his part, Shehu Dikko, the chairman of the LMC, which governs the Nigeria Professional Football League lauded the creation of ABSU and pledged to encourage more clubs in the game.
“We are pleased to see Nigerians leading the creation and strategic development of Beach Soccer and also ready to support as we’ve done previously because the union is also the success of Nigeria,” Dikko, who also doubles as the NFF second vice president told ABSU officials at his office in Maitama, Abuja.
“We’ve in the past provided support to the growth of Beach Soccer in the country by encouraging and financially supporting our NPFL clubs to participate in the Copa Lagos Club Challenge in Lagos.
“We already have strong social and technical relations and this visit will further strengthen our sporting ties because your success is our success. We take this relationship seriously because beach soccer is one of the fastest-growing sport globally.”
Reacting to the visit of ABSU, Mukhtar Mohammed, the FCT Football Association boss assured the union of more support in the bid to build on the success of the 2020 Abuja Beach Soccer Tournament.
“We are trying to promote Beach Soccer and the visit of such a powerful union will further help take the sport to the next level,” Mohammed, who was recently appointed the vice president of Nigeria Teqball Federation told the union.
“Earlier in February, we organised a Beach Soccer tournament and got a lot of positive feedbacks, including from the international body, Beach Soccer World Wide. “From this partnership, we are ready to welcome an action plan and also willing to take the sport to the grassroots in order to develop the talent from the ground up and build local pitches.”
Members of ABSU led by Hadejia on the visits included Arc Olajide (General Secretary); Mrs. Aisha Augie Kuta (Media); Coach Abdullahi Isa (Technical); Adebayo Akande (Competitions); Nasir Auwal (media); Saraki Oladimeji (secretariat); Hussaini Abdullahi (Logistics); Olayinka Elebute (Media) and Samuel Ahmadu [Media/IT officier].
Nigerians on newly formed African Beach Soccer Union (ABSU)
1. Mahmud Hadejia – President
2. Arc. Taye Olajide – General Secretary
3. Ayo Oulibidapo – Vice-Chair Media Cttee
4. Mrs Aisha Augie Kuta – Media Cttee
5. Coach Abdullahi Isa – Technical Ctte
6. Jelili Ogunmuyiwa – Technical Ctte
7. Mrs Ruth David – Women Cttee
8. Mrs Hafsat Toyin Yusuff – Women Cttee
9. Alizor Chuks – Marketing Cttee
10. Adebayo Akande – Competition Cttee
11. Nasir Auwal – Media Cttee
12. Saraki Oladimeji – Admin (Secretariat)
13. Ali Abubakar Mohammed – Policy (Secretariat)
14. Hussaini Abdullahi – Logistics (Secretariat)
15. Olayinka Elebute – Media Officer
16. Samuel Ahmadu – Media/IT Officer