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Eagles failure to qualify for Gabon 2017 AFCON will cost Nigeria N50b, says Awogu

By Gowon Akpodonor
21 July 2016   |   2:15 am
The General Manager of SuperSport West Africa, Felix Awogu, has disclosed that Nigeria may lose up to N50 billion in revenue following Super Eagles’ failure to qualify...
Felix Awogu

Felix Awogu

• SuperSport prepares full squad for coverage of Rio Olympics

The General Manager of SuperSport West Africa, Felix Awogu, has disclosed that Nigeria may lose up to N50 billion in revenue following Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the 2017 African Nations Cup to be held in Gabon.

Awogu, who spoke with journalists in Lagos yesterday, also hinted that SuperSport was preparing a team of experts for quality coverage of the fast approaching Rio Olympics Games.

The Super Eagles, led by coach Samson Siasia, failed to book a ticket for the 2017 AFCON, thereby denying Nigerians the opportunity of watching their team in the championship. It was Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the competition for a second time in a row. The Eagles, under the late coach Stephen Keshi had also lost out in the race to Equatorial Guinea 2015.

Awogu said that Eagles’ failure to appear in Gabon 2017 would not only take the glamour off the championship, but will also take a toll on so many businesses back home in Nigeria.

“In the first place, the championship will not be exciting to many Nigerian viewers because of the absence of the Super Eagles. A lot of people will lose out in the economic aspect of it. The bars will be empty and I can say roughly N50 billion will be lost due to Eagles’ non-participation. That is why every Nigerian must rally round the NFF and the Super Eagles so that the team picks the ticket to 2018 World Cup in Russia,” Awogu stated.

On coverage of the Rio Olympics Games, Awogu said Supersport has prepared a team of experts to deliver the best coverage of events to Nigerians, adding that his company was mindful of the zika virus in Brazil.

“The economic situation is rough, but we will be sending a full team to cover the Rio Olympics. A lot of people will be wondering how we will cope with the zika virus. We will take precautionary measures and I am confident going by the assurance from the government and people of Brazil regarding the zika virus.”

On Team Nigeria’s chances in Rio, Awogu said: “A lot of people have said Nigeria failed at London 2012 Olympics and nothing good will come out from our athletes in Rio. I don’t see it from that angle. To me, we did not fail in London. Some of our athletes actually made it to the semifinals in their respective events in London. The missing link is how they will progress from the semis to the final, and I am sure the athletes will get it right in Rio. We can bank on our wrestlers for medals and also on athletes like Blessing Okagbare in the long jump and also the relay teams.”

Awogu also spoke on DSTV sponsorship of Nigerian basketball league, partnership with the League Management Company (LMC) on the local league and the revival of Nigerian boxing by GOtv. “We have been sponsoring the basketball league for five years now and we are happy because it has opened the doors for some Nigerian players to feature in the NBA in the United States.

“The revival of boxing by GOtv has also brought a turn around into the game and some of our boxers are already being invited to USA for fights. Look at what we are doing in the NPFL league. Now that four major roads have been opened to Maiduguri, we will look at possible ways of bringing to Nigerians live matches involving El-Kanemi FC. But we will take our Let’s Play team to Maiduguri first for the people to be part of the programme,” Awogu stated.

On French coach, Paul Le Guen, who just rejected the Super Eagles’ coaching job, Awogu said the situation does not call for shifting of blames. “We are partners with the NFF and I will be in Abuja tomorrow (today) to discuss a possible way of getting a good coach for the team. We can’t afford to miss out of Russia 2018 World Cup.

“What does it take to get a sound coach? Ikorodu United, FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Warri Wolves all have foreign coaches and they did not require rocket science to get the coaches of their choice.”