2018 W’Cup: The Many Troubles Of NFF | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2018 W’Cup: The Many Troubles Of NFF

Posted: Sep 30, 2016 at 6:32 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Steve Om-Ofozor

Lagos – In just matter of days for the 2018 World Cup qualifier games to kick off across the African continent, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is pelted with plethora of troubles that could affect its prosecution of the qualifying tournament, which begins with a game against Zambia in October 9.
This is even as some serious countries may no doubt have concluded all logistics relating to the prosecution of the qualifiers, months ago and are only working on the psychology of their teams and other issues germane to qualifying for the football fiesta.
The present problem militating against the programmes of the NFF as usual ranges from finance to management of the nation’s football affairs even as the country is witnessing a very turbulent financial crisis – recession.
Recently, a story went viral that the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick has confirmed that the “body is broke” even as other sources said that NFF would need N80 million to prosecute only the first game against Zambia.
In the same vein, it was said that the Super Eagles players are still to be paid their entitlements since their last game against Tanzania.
Super Eagles players, sources said, knew they would have to wait to be paid outstanding bonuses as the NFF’s financial issues continue.
Although the NFF is said to be interested in avoiding anything that would be inimical to the smooth prosecution of the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia, it insists that payments would be made when government releases funds.
“We understand the financial situation affecting the country,” one player, who pleaded anonymity, told BBC Sport.
This is coming ahead of a crucial game that has Super Eagles in Group B with tough football powerhouses such as Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia and only the winners of each group will qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
It also said, “We haven’t been paid our bonuses from March, but we just hope that they will sort it out as promised. It’s only important for everyone to focus on the game against Zambia and not the money problems affecting the federation.”
This seeming headache is predicated on the fact that the NFF receives direct funding from government, and only last month Nigeria slipped into recession for the first time in more than a decade.
But Pinnick, on Youtube lamented the situation though. “I believe that if you work you should earn your dues, but the current economic situation has put us in a very precarious situation in terms of funding,” he said.
“It’s not just Nigeria, but a global recession and it’s very difficult to fulfill all our financial obligations because the government is struggling.”
In a swift reaction to the financial crisis story however, NFF has during the week condemned the reports in the various media outlets, particularly the one that has to do with its inability to fund Nigeria/Zambia tie; the America’s Cable News Network (CNN) was not spared though.
The body said that it viewed the report as baseless, misleading and despicable, not only against Nigerian football, but against the Nigerian nation.
Also, the NFF in justifying its position assured Nigerians that it had concluded arrangements on getting players and officials of the Super Eagles to Abuja for a training camp starting on Sunday, October 2 and getting the team to and from Zambia and getting the players back to their various Clubs after the national assignment.
The NFF is also calling for the support and prayers of Nigerians at this time, and urged that the players be allowed to focus on the big task of qualifying the nation to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, without so much negative stories and insinuations.
However, is it news that pay rows have often surrounded Nigerian teams, with coaches not paid regularly, while players have boycotted training during important qualifiers or at major tournaments over unpaid bonuses?
Is it not true that the poor financial position of the NFF has already forced the country to cut their backroom staff and slashed the salaries and allowances of the various national team coaches, excluding new Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr.
Has Samson Siasia in all his sacrifices for the nation simply on the basis of “Patiotism” been paid his backlog of debts? Stories are already in the media that he is spoiling for legal action against the NFF.
In the same vein, is it not mind buggling, if not criminal that the NFF should be complaining of funds in spite of the “thousands or millions” dollars grants which it gets from FIFA, CAF and the Federal Government even without accountability.
It was on this basis of seeming incompetence of this present board that a FIFA players’ licensed agent, Chris Eseka, has advocated its sack.
“I don’t see anybody in the present NFF board that has the capability to manage Nigerian football creditably well. It is not about who is the coach, but the managerial ability is not there to take Nigerian football to the next level,” Eseka said.
Is it not funny that host ground should be a problem in Nigeria’s football management, instead of issues that concerns the welfare and progress of the teams?
The drama begins speculatively that Akwa Ibom State Government would want to host the Super Eagles home clash against Algeria in Uyo, which hosted the last AFCON 2017 qualifier against Tanzania, but officials have confirmed it would be played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on November 7.
Another side to the story now is that the football authority has not even decided where to host the game between the two states.
Although, the Rivers State Commissioner of Sports, Boma Iyaye, according to reports said: “Rivers State is ready to play the perfect host to the Super Eagles and the international community ahead of this important game.
“The Super Eagles and Olympic football team have played competitive and friendly matches here in Port Harcourt in the past so this is not novelty in any way.
“It is the utmost desire of the Rivers State Government to support the Super Eagles to ensure qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.”
Well said, that is the way to go and this NFF should for once be a serious body with genuine intentions and purposes to develop Nigerian football rather than personal interests which seems to be the ultimate goal of the board, if the posture and body language since its life span began is anything to by.