The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has denied putting the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung under pressure to approve the release of N480m to prosecute the last Super Eagles 2017 Africa Nations Cup(AFCON) qualifying match against the Pharaohs of Egypt.
The Minister was reported to have told a section of the media that he was put under pressure by the NFF to approve the release of the sum for the matches which the Super Eagles lost 0 – 1 in Alexandria that led to the ouster of Nigeria from the race for the 2017 AFCON ticket.
Reacting to the statement, a member of the NFF executive board described the statement as baseless, insisting that the federation did not request for the release of such money from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to prosecute the back-to-back matches.
The board member, who preferred not to be mentioned, stated that the money in question was earlier approved by the presidency for the previous engagements of the national teams and not for the Eagles versus Pharaohs matches.
He regretted that the minister painted a wrong impression of the NFF, noting that some board members of the federation raised their personal money as well as reached out to certain Nigerians who brought in money for the hiring of the chartered flight that took the Nigerian contingent to Egypt for the second leg of the AFCON qualifier.
“The statement credited to the minister is really unexpected, the minister himself is aware of the efforts of the members of the NFF executive to move the game forward. The NFF never asked the ministry for any money for the AFCON qualifier, even though it was not out place to do that because the national teams belong to the country.
“It is on record that the NFF did not ask for and did not receive any money from the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the Super Eagles matches against Egypt as claimed by the minister. The NFF president and other members put down millions of naira to complement the efforts of other committed stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria did not travel to Egypt by regular flight. They chartered a flight for the contingent at their own expense and the minister is aware of this selfless effort.
“The money which he claimed to have approved was actually the fund that was approved by the presidency for the prosecution of past matches which the national teams were involved in and not in any way connected with the Egypt matches because the federation handled the matches squarely through collective efforts”. The board member disclosed.