Bashir Badawiy is the new General Manger of Kwara United Football Club. He spoke to the Head of the Sports Desk, Jimoh Bashir on his appointment, his plans and vision for the club.
Who is Bashir Badawiy?
My name still remains Bashir Ahmed Badawiy, the General Manager of Kwara United FC, Ilorin. I hail from Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara state, Irra to be precise. I was former General Coordinator of Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt.
Before now, not many people thought you were a Kwaran. How would you react to this?
Yes, but we just have to educate our people. It’s not all of us that will be born in the same state of our origin. We have a lot of people who are from Nigeria for example, but they were given birth to in America and other places.
In Kaduna where I was born, breed and brought up, we have enough Kwarans there. We must educate our people. We don’t have to be sentimental about origin or no origin, and moreover, football speaks one language. I thank God that today, people know that yes; Bashir Badawiy is from this state. My father and my mother are both from Kwara state. Every person can trace my origin. No matter where we were born, we must one day trace our roots.
How did you see your appointment as General Manager of Kwara United FC, moving you away from a more lucrative opportunity in Port Harcourt?
I have come to serve my state. Rivers United FC is in the Premier League, and again, the packages are awesome. But when you want to work, and you see a lot of seriousness from the government in charge….the Governor that is now in charge in the state, I decided to come and help my state to develop.
We have been doing this job for quite a long time, developing other states. And when you have an invitation or appointment to come and serve your state, you have to look inwards at those you want to work with. What actually moved me to come and take this appointment is the Executive Governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. I believe that the man is doing wonderfully well, and the potentials to do more are there. The Governor is a football loving man. He was one time Chairman of FC Abuja…..in fact, he formed the club.
And calling on me to come and help the state, my Chairman, Clement Kumbi Titiloye, I and the others, I know with his support and help of God, we will achieve. I took this offer by relinquishing my appointment in a Premier League club, but I don’t have any regret doing so.
What does being the General Manager of Kwara United FC mean to you?
It means a lot to me, and this is because, when you look at the time I was here as a Consultant, we defeated Enyimba FC….it did not happen before then. After then, the team qualified to play continental football. Since then though, it has been up and down. Do we say we are going forward or backward?
So, what we need to put in place first, you must look at the philosophy, as someone that has come to achieve something.
Everything about my life, anywhere I work, the state and the club comes first. I don’t want anybody to say this is Bash, this is Kumbi…we must say this is Kwara United FC, and this is Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the man that is putting everything in its rightful place.
You have known Kwara United FC for a long time, especially their recent performances. With what you met on ground, don’t you think it’s a big challenge?
For me, every new assignment must come with its challenges, but the terrain is not new to us. Football can never be strange to me. The atmosphere here is not even as tensed as Rivers state in all aspects, but we were able to survive it.
I don’t think there would be any…. although when we came on board, we met only eight players. You can see the level of task ahead of us. Even with the eight, we are still monitoring situations. The players we met on ground as well…for me I know we must work hard. All we need to do is to beg the Governor to help us, because he himself would not like seeing the team performing below expectations. We need his support, which we have started getting, and we need more from him.
Your board just appointed Coach Abdullahi Biffo. What is the target, the objective and the vision?
The major target is for us to get the Premier League ticket immediately. We can’t bargain for less. We want a good team, and we want to carry everybody along. The other coaches are still with the team, but we believed we need to beef up that department.
We believe in the pedigree of Coach Biffo. We need a quality leader, and a good team that will make us achieve the set goals.
Coach Biffo is from this state. He was not sacked at Katsina United. Even before we engaged him, he has a lot of offers, but we convinced him to join us in building a strong team.
So, with what we have on ground now, I believe we have a credible technical department that can take us to the next level.
Apart from hiring a new head coach, what other surgical operations have you in mind, or have you done so far in the team?
The next thing is for us to bring in new players. I can beat my chest now, as at today, we have 15 players from Premier League who want to play for us, and this is because of our relationship with them. These are part of the major operations. We want to give our people quality football.
You just held a stakeholders meeting where various suggested were harvested. What is your reaction to this?
For me, I don’t have much to say. All the stakeholders have spoken their minds. It’s a fall-out of what has been happening before now. It’s up to we the board to scrutinized all their submissions and work along with the useful ones and move forward.
The interaction with the stakeholders will be a continuous process. Majority of them have also come to us, individually and in groups, to offer advises and suggestions. We acknowledge their concerns and contributions. Getting Kwara United FC promoted is a big and collective task.
With your understanding of Nigeria football league, how would you describe it personally?
We are growing day by day, even though there are still rooms for improvement. Last season, the LMC did exceptionally well. Our referees were on top of their games. The only problem we have is lack of sponsors for the system, which I believe will soon be solved. But for the standard, it’s really okay, while also urging them to do more.
We are playing Abridged League now because there is no cash backing. If there are no sponsors, there is little that the LMC can really do. The Abridged League was suggested and adopted because there is no enough money to run straight league. The LMC want to manage the resources availability to them.
There is no harm in playing Abridged League, especially last year; we recorded a lot of positives.
And for the continental competitions, it all depends on the improvements at each individual club, especially those that qualify to represent us.
Enyimba FC are also in the continent, but look at where they are today. Preparation for continental competitions demands carefulness and adequate preparation. Enyimba FC, immediately they qualified, were quick to hit the ground running… did their recruitments and other preparations earlier. You don’t wait till it’s too late to start preparing and building new teams. We need to emulate what Enyimba FC is doing.
What other avenues do you seek to explore to broaden the revenue base of Kwara United FC beyond what the government gives?
We have two solid companies that my Chairman is currently engaging, and we are expecting something good from there. Again, we expect something to come out for the club in this state from private individuals and corporate organisations. We want to privatise the club, but that can only come gradually. We also want to reorganize our Supporters arm, and make it corporate.
How would you describe the atmosphere in the state, especially in and around the club?
There is nothing much. There is nothing like agitation. But you must expect some, especially when you are coming to a new office, most especially, with the various interests surrounding the club. Maybe some people may have been brainwashed and all that. But we thank God there was understanding with the stakeholders. They later understood that we on board are not rookies. And by the grace of God, we will not disappoint them. We appreciate the Fans, the Supporters, various interest groups and the entire stakeholders for their support.
What is your advice to Kwarans?
We need their support. Total support….prayers and patience. And by the grace of God, we will achieve.