The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has allayed fears over the problem of paucity of funds confronting them which was thought may scuttle the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and the Fifa Confederations Cup all scheduled for the month of June.
The Super Eagles will play a friendly match against Mexico in May slated for the United States before playing two World Cup qualifiers against Kenya and Namibia as well as the Confederations Cup in Brazil all in June.
Disclosing this to Goal.com in Abuja, chairman of the NFF Finance Committee, Dr. Shehu Adamu said despite the funding problem, the NFF would still meet up with the financial demands of June 2013 when a lot of matches would be played by the Super Eagles.
“The visa process has commenced and the Super Eagles players based in Nigeria and some officials were in the German Embassy in Lagos this week to fill their visa forms and also submitted their international passports to obtain German visas,” said Adamu.
“You are aware of the fact that the Eagles would commence camping exercise for the loaded June 2013 programmes in Germany. They are due in Abuja on Tuesday, April 30 also to face the US (United States of America’s) Embassy since the Super Eagles are also playing a friendly match against Mexico in the US too.
“The leadership of the NFF is leaving no stone unturned to get funds to prosecute these programmes. We are ready to do anything to get these funds even if it is to borrow since we are a credible organization so they know that we will pay back these funds when we get them. The most important thing is to honour the matches first,” he explained.
The former Commissioner of Sports in Kaduna State was, however, not happy that the monthly grant from the government was drastically pruned down which he claimed was affecting the body negatively.
“The NFF’s monthly grant that used to be 151 million naira has now been slashed to just 71 million naira now, I gathered. But the leadership of the NFF has vowed to go to any length in ensuring the Eagles honour both the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and Fifa Confederations Cup,” said Adamu.
Adamu also blamed too many litigations and instability in the system for the woes of the NFF. He complained that this has slowed the Federation down and has robbed it of many sponsors throwing their weight behind Nigerian football.
He said that the $1.5m (N2.4 million) prize money for winning the Africa Cup of Nations and the N350 million sponsorship package from Globacom would not be enough to cater for Super Eagles assignments alone talk less of other remaining seven national teams.
“Despite the Super Eagles being the top brand in African football now, coupled with the fact that both the Flying Eagles and the Golden Eaglets have qualified for the World Cup, we are still finding it difficult to enjoy the leverage and mileage available as regards funds because of the too many litigations and instability of the particular system.
“As regards the Africa Cup of Nations funds for winning the tournament, how huge is the money they are talking about? Take for example the sponsorship money we are receiving from Globacom, which is N350 million for all the national teams. From these funds the marketing agent who markets takes about 20 percent which is N70 million. So if you deduct the N70 million from the N350 million total package you are left with only N280 million.
“For example times before now when we play so many friendly matches, we keep on telling Nigerians and I repeat that we are expending not less than N120 million for a single (friendly) match of the Super Eagles. So tell me with N280 million how many matches will you play to get the money exhausted,” Adamu asked.
“The Nations Cup prize money is $1.5 million (N240 million) and if you convert it you are talking about N240 million how far will it go as far as the Super Eagles is concerned? Remember we are managing eight national teams in Nigeria from the Super Eagles to the U-17 as well as the Super Falcons to the Flamingoes.
“This is apart from the Beach Soccer and FUTSAL and other expenditure we are recording as far as the running of the activities of the Federation on monthly basis. So if you add all these together it’s a lot of money the Federation is spending every day.
He then sent a save our soul message to the National Sports Commission who he believes could help solve the funding problems of the Football House.
“So if the National Sports Commission (NSC) on behalf of the Federal Government doesn’t come to our rescue, who is going to come? Take for example we went to the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, we played and won the trophy but the amount of money that was given to us they (NSC) said it is going to be deducted on a monthly basis now until we liquidate. So what do we do? They said it was a part of our own budget. So if they took away that it means that we can afford so many things on the activities of Nigeria Football Federation.
“Before the Nations Cup funds used to be a separate grant while the NFF budget was used to cater for the remaining national teams and other programmes of the football house. But that was not the case in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations that Nigeria won in South Africa. The almost N800 million that was spent for the Super Eagles campaign in the competition was promptly deducted from the NFF budget allocation of 2013 which is N1.5 billion. So when you remove N800 million from N1.5 billion, the remaining amount would be N700 million. So there is no way these funds would be sufficient for the Federation’s loaded program for the year 2013,” Adamu concluded.