Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Super Eagles World Cup funding; A plea to the Federal Government.

Super Eagles World Cup funding; A plea to the Federal Government.

So for a very long time, the NFF has been able to sort out all issues related to bonuses and allowances for the Super Eagles as they head out to a major tournament.

I spoke to a few players and they told me they have been briefed and told exactly what is due to them and the backlog of the monies has been cleared.

What this means is that we won't see any issue like 2014 when Ghana had to fly in dollars to share with their players a night before a game. There will be no murmuring and fights over remuneration.

All the players have to do is go on the pitch and do the business.

That being said, the NFF needs all the monies they can lay their hands to on to sort out other sundry issues that have to do with Nigeria's World Cup participation.

I nicked piece off someone and decided to publish because it encapsulates my thinking as Nigeria head into the Mundial.

Some parts were edited but the core of the article remains.

On June 1, 2018, Nigerians from all walks of life especially those in the United Kingdom, travelled from far and wide to Oxford in London.

Oxford Street in central London was on lock-down as British Police struggled to curtail thousands of Nigerians trooping in from the various train stations and heading towards Nike Sales office where the Super Eagles jersey was due to go on sale.

 They were not there for the usual street carnival but to lay cop the much publicised  Nigerian National team jersey which has attracted massive media hype since it was first unveiled earlier this year.

Never in our history have Nigerians based in the United Kingdom expressed deep love and passion for their fatherland, never in a long while has a Nigerian match attracted the kind of publicity and frenzy the game in London versus the Three Lions attracted.

All these points to the fact that the Nigerian youth have all keyed into accepting football as the singular most unifying factor that holds a Nation together in the midst of all the uncertainties of our national life.

No other sector can get Nigerians off the streets like football.

On June 2, 2018, during the friendly match between England and Nigeria, over 10,000 Nigerian youths found their way into the Wembley stadium, an edifice that was packed full with over 70,000 watching spectators. 

Those who could not access the stadium watched in the comfort of their homes.

Major streets were painted green and white as Nigerians displayed their rich cultural heritage and wore their national colours with pride and passion.

The players too fought gallantly and did their utmost to protect national pride against a star-studded England National team who pride themselves till date, as one of the super-powers of world football.

 Yes, the Nigerian World Cup kit was celebrated by the World's leading News media outlets like never before.

 CNN, BBC, SKY, FOX, ABC, ITV all wanted to have a piece of the frenzy created by the exquisite and well-designed apparel. A lot rated the kit the best among the 32 nations going to Russia. It was indeed a week which one was proud to be a Nigerian; such was the feeling.

The streets of London and the over 70, 000 thousand spectators of different colour and races wearing the Super Eagles jersey inside the Wembley stadium on June 2,  sent a strong message to the rest of the World that Nigerian Youth are not lazy, Nigerian Youth hold  the key to unlocking Nigeria's unity in her diversity, Nigerian Youth is the biggest marketing and public relations tool for our country, much more than any other sponsored or slogan campaign and football is the biggest and by far the largest campaign tool for the govt and people of Nigeria.

Yet the Super Eagles head to Russia without government funds released to the players.

The question now is why?

Why haven't monies meant for this purpose still hanging somewhere? Funds meant for the players.

In the face of the obvious commitment and patriotic excitement exhibited by the players and everyone associated with 'Project Super Eagles for Russia 2018',  it is sad to know that the body saddled with the responsibility of seeing our Super Eagles excel in Russia (The NFF)  have continued to squeeze water out of hard rocks, just to get things going.

It is akin to them swimming against the tide.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been  magnanimous in his overall disposition towards the team as he has shown his passion and undying love for football since he assumed office in 2015 but somehow, a few individuals have stood as stumbling block between him and the Super Eagles, thereby stopping the flow of funds released for this purpose from being easily accessible.

What this means ultimately is, Nigeria's successful participation at the World Cup might come at a cost. An avoidable cost.

It is pertinent to note that monies released by the world football governing body (FIFA) for National team's preparation are $2 million coupled with the over 800 million naira ( eight hundred million naira) gathered by the NFF in their rigorous marketing drive. All these monies are all being held up by government bureaucracy which has made planning and preparation a very difficult task. 

Even as the Nigeria Football Federation keep sealed lips over their present predicament, inside sources have revealed that theirs is a case of a group of individuals suffering and smiling while trying to steady the ship.

They have spent all they have to keep the team comfortable. The officials have been fully paid all their salaries and allowances, outstanding bonuses for players have also been sorted, while their daily camp allowances have been totally taken care of.

Team captain John Obi Mikel attested to the fresh air of comfort blowing through the camp on a recent visit to president Buhari just before the contingent departed for London for their training tour.

He gave kudos to the NFF for making life very comfortable for the players and officials, stressing that never in the history of the National team has it been this good.

If this submission and those from Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi and other team members are truly correct, then the Nigeria sports minister Solomon Dalung must rise and act.

He must for the sake of matter of national joy,  come to the aid of the NFF and save the Nation another potential distraction and disgrace.

like it happened at the World Cup in 2014, fresh crisis seems to be brewing which if not quickly curtailed can escalate into a major problem that will break the cord of unity in the team and destroy our hopes of putting up a brilliant performance at the World cup.

A stitch in time will save Nigeria nine major stitches.

The jersey has brought a lot of goodwill to the team. It is now left for whoever is in charge of the funds to do the needful so more accolades can come to Nigeria.

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