Sunday, 2 March 2014

President Jonathan Approves Extra N1.6b For Super Eagles' World Cup Preparation

Super Eagles 2014 FIFA World Cup preparation and participation has received a massive boost with the approval of N1.6 billion extra budgetary allocation to the team by the Federal Government. Checks revealed on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan who is looking forward to a good outing in Brazil from the senior national football team, the Super Eagles, has approved the funds expected to be released any moment from now.

A top government source in Abuja confirmed to newsmen last week that the money is mainly for the preparation and participation of the Super Eagles at the Mundial in the South American nation.
"The Federal Government is committed to the Super Eagles doing well at the World Cup in Brazil that is why President Jonathan has approved N1.6billion for the team. The money is different from whatever the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) may have appropriated for the team in their 2014 budget," revealed the reliable source Thursday.

Although the money is less than the N2.3billion the Presidential Task Force on the last World Cup in South Africa had hope to raise for a successful outing for the Super Eagles four years ago, football officials who spoke with reporters on the Federal Government's magnanimity were full of praises for President Jonathan.

"The president has demonstrated his love for the country's senior football team by approving the money. This will take the pressure away from the National Sports Commission and NFF officials who have been wondering how they were going to fund Eagles preparations and participation in Brazil 2014," observed the official who would not want his name in print because of his post in the nation's sports sector.
Sports Minister, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, is believed to have played a part in getting the Presidency to approve the money for the Eagles.

Abdullahi who had earlier voiced his resentment with setting up another task force like the 2010 committee headed by Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, in the drive to raise funds for Nigeria's participation at the Brazil 2014, is likely to approach Corporate Nigeria for their support to what the Federal Government has provided for the Eagles. The left-over of the funds raised by the Amaechi committee was used to fund the new NFF secretariat in Abuja.

NFF had earlier tabled a budget of over N5billion for the busy year 2014. It is far greater than the N1.2billion it received to run 2013 in which Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations after 19 years of waiting for the trophy and a fourth FIFA Under-17 World Cup title in the United Arab Emirates. Eagles also won the bragging rights to the World Cup in Brazil same year.

Apart from the Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) in January where the home-based Eagles returned from South Africa as the third best nation of the tournament and Nigeria's campaign in Brazil next summer, all three cadres of the women's national teams - Falcons, Falconets and Flamingos have equally booked their passages to both continental and world tournaments.

As part of Nigeria's preparation for the World Cup in Brazil, the Super Eagles are scheduled to play Mexico in Atlanta, USA next week Wednesday.

Also, the NFF has announced that the Super Eagles intends to play a friendly match with a yet to be disclosed country in London on May 28 before heading to their World Cup training camp the next day. Two other friendly matches on June 3 and 7 have also been lined up for the Eagles before they branch out to Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 11 for the World Cup campaign. Eagles are going to battle Argentina, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the group state.

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