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Nigerian Football

NO BUDGETARY ALLOCATION FOR SUPER EAGLES’ WORLD CUP PREPARATION

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BY CHINWE EDOGA.

The crowded international sports calendar and the attendant huge cost involved have compelled the Nigerian sports minister, Solomon Dalung to make a passionate plea to the national assembly to consider sufficient fund in the 2018 budgets.

The qualification of the Super Eagles to the most important single sport event in the world, the World Cup means the country must appropriate enough fund for a good outing for the team.

Besides, the World Cup year always coincide with the Commonwealth Games which Nigeria also partake in. The Commonwealth Games is multi-discipline that excludes mainly team sports like football to bring the cost down a little.

The Commonwealth Games hold in Gold Coast, Queensland in Australia from April 4 to 15, barely eight weeks to Nigeria’s participation at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

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Apart from the FIFA World Cup in Russia and the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Nigeria will also feature in the Basketball (FIBA) World Cup for women in Spain following the splendid performance early this year by the women’s national team, D’Tigress.

In a press release from the office of the Nigerian sports minister, Solomon Dalung remarks: “We all know that the recent success of the Super Eagles was as a result of direct support from President Mohammadu Buhari who had to personally intervene at critical times during the qualification campaigns.”

He further stressed that the process of running to the President at every slightest opportunity for financial intervention for sports may be difficult to sustain at the long run considering the numerous international sporting events lined up for 2018.

In proffering solutions, the minister announced that a fund raiser dinner will soon be held.

 “A stakeholders’ dinner which will also include the National Assembly, state governments and all other concerned sports stakeholders will be organized soon to chart a new course of action for our participation at the World Cup.”

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With many stakeholders calling for early World Cup preparations for the global event, Dalung said that it may be an impossible task if something urgent is not done to raise the needed funds.

“In fact, let’s not be deceived. There was no budgetary allocation for the Super Eagles preparation for the 2018 World Cup in the 2017 budget.”

He tasked the House Committee to key into the vision of the ministry of seeing a well prepared Super Eagles take on the world as a major player in Africa and world football.

“We are not going as mere participants but as contenders with a new vision, culture and tradition of modern soccer and a determination to make an impact at the World Cup.

“With sports being a tool for effective service delivery which is capital intensive, it is imperative to have sufficient funds available to support every stage of the preparation in other to make a successful impact in Russia.

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“By this token, I’m passionately appealing to National Assembly to support our participation by appropriating sufficient funds to sports in the budget next year and thereafter.”

Speaking further, the Minister said that without sufficient funding, all efforts to make an impact at the global stage in 2018 may be a mission impossible.

“The significance of sports in National development cannot be over emphasized; therefore, all stakeholders including state governments must rise to this clarion call of repositioning sports for the benefit of the youths.

“We are committed and we shall do everything possible to promote the image and integrity of Nigeria,” Dalung concluded.

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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