Nigeria Loses N33m As Akwa Exits CAF Cup | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria Loses N33m As Akwa Exits CAF Cup

Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Peter Edema


The country’s financial football fortunes dipped for the worse, losing N33 million ($165,000) at the weekend, following the failure of Akwa United FC to qualify for the group stage of the 2016 CAF Confederation Cup.

The Nigerian representative crashed out of the continental hurdle at the first stage losing 6-5 on penalties to Vita FC of Congo after the two legged qualifier ended 1-1. Akwa United had won the first away 1-0 only to lose by same margin on Saturday at home. In the ensuring penalty kick, it lost 5-6.

Not included in the above figure is the cost incurred by Akwa United in prosecuting the first round matches, which would be in millions of Naira. The team went to Congo with 18 players, three coaches and several officials. Flight tickets of these officials, accommodation, feeding and internal transportation for four days would cost millions of Naira.

Akwa would have won N30 million ($150,000) if it had qualified for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup and placed fourth, while the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would have pocketed N3 million ($15,000).

Should the club placed either second or third in the group stage, it would have won N48.2 million ($239,000) with the NFF getting N4 million ($20,000) for placing third and N5 million ($25,000) for the NFF, if the club placed second.

Awaiting Akwa United if it had placed second in the tournament is N86.4 million ($432,000), with NFF pocketing N6 million. It would have been a bumper harvest for the club if it had won the cup with N125 million ($625,000) up for grabs, while the NFF would have won a free N7 million ($35,000).

Paul Bassey, a member of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, refused to comment on the financial implication of the loss, when asked on Sunday.

While ruing the loss, he said, “Are you talking of the disgrace to the nation or what? What is $15,000 loss to the NFF,” he quipped.

But Mohammed Sanusi, NFF General Secretary, who regretted the club’s first round exit, said that the NFF will do all within its powers to ensure that Nasarawa United, which qualified for the second round of the tournament reaches the group stage.

“Remember that we (NFF) are not responsible for the preparation of the team. We are not responsible for coaching the players; it is the responsibility of the club. Payment of players salaries, bonuses are not our duty. But where we can help them administratively, we would not hesitate to do so,” he said.

Nasarawa United, widely believed to have a slim chance of progressing after managing a 2-1 win over Senegalese Generation Foot, drew goalless in the second leg in Dakar on Saturday.

Nasarawa United will face Algerian side CS Constantine in March.

In the CAF Champions League, Warri Wolves qualified for the second round of the tournament following the withdrawal of its Sao Tope opponent. Enyimba on Sunday brushed aside Vipers of Uganda on 2-1 goal aggregate.

Meanwhile, Isaac Danladi, Chairman of Nasarawa United, believes that the team can win the cup.

“Perhaps, it is too early to start talking about winning the title, but I can tell you that we have learnt a lot on how to hold our own on the road and we will now take every match as it comes,” Danladi said after his team played a 0-0 draw on saturday.

After a narrow 2-1 win in Abuja in the first leg, many thought ‘The Solid Miners’ had come to the end of the road, particularly with the brilliant display of the visitors.

“We will keep our heads at the level and approach it one match at a time. Our objective will always be to earn a good result from every game,” Danladi added.