NFF laments Dalung’s exclusion of African Nations Cup from 2019 budget
Super Eagles begin training in Asaba today
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) officials say prosecuting the 2019 African Nations Cup has become a difficult task following the exclusion of the federation’s expenditure in the Ministry of Sports’ budget allegedly by the immediate past minister, Solomon Dalung.
Teams in the African Nations Cup take care of their contingent’s logistics except accommodation, internal transportation and feeding during the African Nations Cup. This is different from the World Cup in which FIFA provides funding for every team’s preparation and participation in the competition.
An NFF official told journalists at the weekend that the federation had been forced to struggle for funds a few weeks before the Nations Cup scheduled for Egypt.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said, “we duly submitted our budget to the ministry, but we understand that it was removed by the immediate past minister, Solomon Dalung.“The problem is that we only discovered that our budget was not in the envelope submitted by the ministry a few days ago.
“So, we are left to look for resources to take care of our teams’ preparation and participation in their various competitions and we don’t have much time to do this.”Apart from the Nations Cup, which begins in Egypt on June 25, Nigeria is also involved in the on-going FIFA U-20 World Cup and the FIFA Women World Cup, which kicks off on Friday.
There is also the African U-23 Nations Cup and the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which are also scheduled for this year. Reacting to the allegation that the ministry yanked off NFF’s package from its 2019 budget, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola said the ministry should not be held responsible if the NFF’s expenditure is not in the federal budget because the ‘federation is an independent parastatal.’
According to Adesola, “the NFF is responsible for its own budget, which in most cases is included in the Sports Ministry’s envelope. “You know the resources are not limited and so things are prioritized based on available resources. If the NFF did not submit its budget, it is not the ministry’s fault.
“Most times they choose to do things their own way independent of the ministry.”The 2019 African Nations Cup will hold from June 21 to July 21.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo and other players are expected to begin training today in Asaba ahead of the 2019 African Nations Cup.
Already in the camp, which opened yesterday in the Delta State capital, are the team’s technical crew led by Gernot Rohr and some of the team’s staff.According to Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, the team will start the build up to the Nations Cup with a friendly tie against Zimbabwe this weekend.
Ibitoye said the Eagles coach had warned that only the best players would be picked for the AFCON, adding, “By Monday evening (today) every player invited must have been present in camp.“The Eagles are expected to have an early work out with the available players in camp.”