By Amaechi Agbo
In 2019, a new dawn in Bauchi State Football Association unfolded after former Super Eagles star and utility player, Patric Pascal (MON) was elected Chairman of the state’s Football Association, FA.
The election that ushered in the tenure of Mr Pascal for the past three years have rebranded grassroots football in the Pearl of Tourism State.
A former international that laced his boots for Belgian club side, Royal Antwerp and a gold medalist in Atlanta 1996 Olympics, Mr Pascal did not dilly-dally in unfolding his blueprint for a new Bauchi State grassroots football.
He believes that football is all about grassroots, bringing young ones out of the hinterland that tomorrow will become stars in Nigeria football generally.
Renovation Of Bauchi State Football Association Office
Speaking in an interview, the former Lobi Stars and Sunshine Stars playmaker, gave God glory for His grace upon him before he enumerated his achievements thus far.
First of all, I want to thank the Almighty God for His grace. It is now three years and some months that I became chairman of the Bauchi State Football Association. Football is about grassroots, bringing young ones up that tomorrow will have a very good future ahead of us.
Secondly, as an FA, our work include creating enabling environment that will enable football to grow in the state. When I became Chairman, then we did not have an office, we were using container which is not befitting.
My first priority was renovating the structure. The building we used them as office was used during the U-17 Championship (in 2009) but it was abandoned thereafter. After the renovation, the FA relocated to the building and today it is functional.
Education Of Clubs on affiliation
The FA under my watch is carrying out education and sensitization of the people, football club/academy owners on affiliation to the FA. I made them to understand that if you are not affiliated to the FA, there are certain things you will not do.
For instance, when it comes to transfer of players, people can take your player and they can use the player for free if you are not affiliated.
I built structures across the 20 local governments in the state. They conducted election and have a working executive at that level while we at the state supervise them.
Grassroots football development
In terms of grassroots football which is our core mandate, we have organized U-13 and U-15 competitions. The competitions went through all the local governments and we picked good players.
Right now as we speak, I am running U-13 primary school competition in the 20 local governments.
We observed when we assumed office that professional referees were not used to officiate matches in the state during competitions. The organisers would bring quacks or unprofessional people to do the work of referees. We stopped this and now professional referees in the state are giving their due honour to do their job.
Prior to my coming on board, the previous board did not conduct any competition. We have changed the narrative. Our main project is how to fix football in Bauchi State and that means going back to the grassroots and to make the young ones to become very good players in the future.
Cost of Affiliation
Every state FA have their own powers and operations as well as how they do their programmes. In Bauchi State affiliation fee is N50, 000.00. We made sure that people do not convert clubs to football academies. We engaged them and made them to get affiliated to the FA and we are glad that they understand the importance.
U-13 Competition is annually
We organize the U-13 every year and it will continue in our tenure. Except during COVID-19 in 2020, we have remained consistent in organising the competition. Right now, all the primary schools in the local governments are taking part in the competition which will finish during the holiday.