Dalung Dilly-Dallies On N2.9bn Probe | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Dalung Dilly-Dallies On N2.9bn Probe

Posted: Mar 15, 2016 at 12:36 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
Tony Ezimakor, Abuja

Solomon Dalung, Sports Minister, is under pressure to probe how defunct National Sports Commission (NSC) under erstwhile Director General, Alhassan Yakmut, spent N2.9 billion released by President
Muhammadu Buhari for the 2015 All Africa Games and Rio Olympics preparation.

Due to funding constraints, preparations for the Rio Olympics have run into a brick wall. Teams have had to travel out for qualifiers sometimes without coaches and other supporting staff, owing to lack
funds. As a result of these financial constraints, Dalung, it was learnt sought the intervention of President Buhari, who shocked him with a no-dime response.

Our source disclosed that the President has refused to release a dime for sports until the N2.9 billion released for the Ministry last year was fully accounted for.

The source said that Buhari was constrained to dip hands into funds meant for a critical agro crop reserve, at the time he released the funds last year, adding that Buhari’s stern disposition was said to have shocked Dalung, even as he considers his options.

The dilemma facing the minister, we understand, stems from his ambition to contest the 2019 governorship election of his home state, Plateau. Opening an inquiry against Yakmut, a kinsman, at this time, is seen by observers not to be in his political interest.

Already the backlash for scrapping the NSC where Yakmut was Director General is said to be reverberating against interest of the minister in his home state. Dalung nonetheless, our source hinted, is seeing the disappearance of Rio Games funds as an act of sabotage, considering an alleged finding
that part of the N2.9 billion was used to service former NSC top political office holders.
Another source claimed that the Games fund was used to acquire choice property in a popular estate in Abuja.

“I see this as sabotage, now we cannot prepare for the Rio Games the way we should, while people smile home with their pockets fat,” the minister was quoted to have said.

Meanwhile, miffed by the shoddy preparation for the Rio Olympics, the FCT Chapter of Sports Writers Association (SWAN) has asked Buhari to release funds without delay for the Games.

The Association in a unanimous resolution of its Congress at the weekend said that the Rio Games would surpass the London 2012 Games in its embarrassment to the nation unless steps to support it were urgently taken. It also urged Buhari to beam ongoing anti corruption searchlight on
the sports sector and urged him to compel the Sports Minister to account for the N2.9 billion released for the 2015 All Africa Games.

Pharaohs Beef Up Team With Five Foreign-Based
Egypt’s coach Hector Cuper has invited five foreign-based players, including Roma winger Mohamed Salah, for the Pharaohs’ crucial game against Nigeria in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on 25 March.
Egypt will play Nigeria on 25 March in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before playing the follow-up match four days later in Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

“Egypt’s national team will start a closed camp on 20 March, three days before traveling to Nigeria,” Egyptian Football Association member, Ihab Liheta, said on Monday.

Cuper, 59, has called up Roma rising Egyptian star Mohamed Salah, who was acknowledged for his performance against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League last week. Arsenal midfielder, Mohamed Elneny, who began to book a regular place in the Gunners’ starting lineups, has been called up by Cuper to take part in the game against Nigeria.

Egyptian winger, Mahmoud Trezeguet’ Hassan, who is on loan from Anderlecht will replace injured winger Mohamed Abdel-Shafi, who plays for Saudi side, Ahly Jeddah, in the Pharaohs squad.
The coach also invited Ahmed Hassan Kouka (Sporting Braga- Portugal) and Amr Warda (Panetolikos – Greek) The Pharaohs full squad including local based players will be released
on Tuesday.

Egypt is leading group G with six points, two ahead of second-placed Nigeria as only the group winners guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2017 Cup of Nations.

Ighalo Dismisses Injury Fears

Super Eagles and Watford of England striker Odion Ighalo has assured he will be fit for Watford’s Premier League game against Stoke City on Saturday even after he limped out of the Cup tie against Arsenal at the weekend. Ighalo limped out before the end of the FA Cup quarterfinal win over Arsenal at The Emirates on Sunday.

The injury must have raised the blood pressure of both Watford and Nigeria fans ahead of crucial games this month. However, the striker has now said he only suffered a minor knock and he will be fit when Stoke City visit Vicarage Road on Saturday.

“I just need two days to rest and some massage and I will be ready for the weekend’s game,” said Ighalo, whose opening goal propelled Watford to reach the FA Cup semi-final at the expense of holders Arsenal.

Osimhen To Fight For Shirt In U-23 Camp
FIFA U-17 World Cup highest goal scorer ever, Victor Osimhen, arrived the camp of the U-23 Team, ahead of the international friendly game against Brazil later this month, with the message that he was here to fight for a shirt.

Speaking on arrival, Osimhen said that it was always fun for him to come to camp and play for his fatherland.

“I see it as a privilege and will always honour such invitations any time I am called upon. I have come to fight for a jersey and I am happy to be among the invited players.”

With his arrival, Osimhen became the first foreign -based player to arrive camp in preparation for the game. The U-23 is expected to depart the shores of the country on Sunday,
March 20, aboard a South African Airways flight.

FIFA Bans Three South African Officials
Three South African football officials have been banned by Fifa
following an investigation into international friendlies prior to the
2010 World Cup.

Leslie Sedibe, former South African Football Association chief executive, has been banned from football-related activities for five years. He has also been fined Swiss Francs 20,000 (£14,100).
Sedibe referees’ chiefs Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse have each received two-year bans.

The sanctions relate to the proceedings against Lindile Kika, who last October was banned from all football-related activity for six years. Kika denied being involved in match-fixing.

A statement on Monday read: “The adjudicatory chamber decided that theformer official Leslie Sedibe had infringed article 13 (general rules of conduct), article 15 (loyalty), and article 18 (duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting) of the FIFA code of ethics (FCE).

“The former officials Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse were both also found guilty of violating articles 13, 15, and 18 of the FCE. All bans come into force immediately.”

The South African Football Association has said it welcomes the sanctions.

“We are glad this matter has ultimately reached this stage since Safareported the matter to Fifa almost 4 years ago,” said Mr PoobalanGovindasamy, the Chairperson of the Safa Ethics Committee.

“It had dragged on too long for our liking and was starting to have an impact on us as an association and our valued stakeholders. At Safa we have a zero-tolerance policy for any corrupt activity which impacts negatively on this beautiful game and for that reason we welcome strong measures against any individual who is found guilty of such offenses.”

Boboye’s Absence Not Affecting Sunshine Stars – Media Officer
Chibuike Chukwu LAGOS

Sunshine Stars of Akure has denied that the sack of Coach Kenneth Boboye is responsible for the team’s poor performance in the six weeks old Nigeria Professional Football League. The team, yet to win a game, once again lost 0-1 to Giwa FC of Jos on Sunday.

But Wahab Bankole, the team’s Media Officer, who said this noted that the sack of the coach was not responsible for the string of poor results.

Speaking to Independent, Bankole said that the current players were even better than what the side had last season, blaming their defeat against FC Giwa on the referee.

“It is not true that we are suffering from the absence of Boboye; we have capable hands and can even boast of better playing staff than what we had last season,” he said.

“The officiating of our match against Giwa was terrible. The referees may end up spoiling whatever the good works the LMC is doing to improve the league.

“Those who were at the stadium will testify that the referee was playing out a script and he succeeded.
Upon all his antics, we held on until the goal at the dying minute of the match. Really, I am not used to condemning officiating but what played out at the stadium was a bad reflection of the league,” he

On the plans for subsequent matches, starting with a home fixture against Nasarawa United in Ilorin, Bankole said: “We thank God that we have a team that can hold out its own away from home. If not for the referee’s blunder, we would have had a draw, so we are not perturbed. We have a good side that can get us the result, it is a matter of time.

“We have lost two away matches and I didn’t complain, so if I complain over what happened at Giwa, it means the officiating was something else,” he said.