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Amuneke, others, commend Bio for changing Eagles’ hotel


SUPER Eagles’ former striker, Emmanuel Amuneke, has commended the Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Bio, for changing the Super Eagles’ hotel to a befitting camp for the national team.

Uproar had greeted the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) decision to choose Hampshire Hotel Ballito for the Eagles, but Bio moved swiftly to cancel the booking and take the team to Hotel Protea at Richards Bay.

Amuneke and other Eagles’ former stars, including Thompson Oliha, Dosu Joseph and Etim Esin, said that Bio’s move has not only saved Nigeria the embarrassment of staying in a roadside motel, but has also guaranteed the security of the players.

Amuneke, the 1994 Africa Player-of-the-Year, wondered why the Sani Lulu Abdullahi-led NFF would go for a hotel still under construction, adding: “They just don’t know what to do anymore. How can they lodge a national team in a hotel that is yet to be completed, with no fence and adequate security and expect the players to stay focused and achieve their funny semi-final target?

“We will not change the way we talk on salient issues that affect our football. We are stakeholders in this round leather game and they should stop deceiving us with all these ‘no money’ issue. It’s unfortunate that our football has gotten to this level.”

Another 1994 World Cup star, Oliha, wondered why the federation did not go for the FIFA-approved hotel, Protea Waterfront Hotel, in the first place, saying: “I wonder why the NFF wanted a kind of hotel which was not FIFA-approved.

FIFA officially listed some hotels for the 32 teams to stay during the World Cup, so why they went for the Hampshire Hotel beats my imagination. They should have kept to FIFA regulations and arrangements for the World Cup. It’s good the coach, Lars Lagerback, went for the new hotel which I hear is a better one than the previous.”

On his part, Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold medallist, Dosu Joseph, is relieved that Bio has waded into the matter and believes the NFF officials will no longer take the country for granted after the hotel scandal. He said: “They said they booked the Hampshire Hotel in the first place at the behest of Shaibu Amodu. Thank God he (Amodu) has come out to say he was not the one that booked the hotel.

“The NFF are just running our football the way they understand it. I’m happy the minister waded in to unravel the mystery behind the whole thing. They are just wasting the taxpayer’s money.

“Now they have been dragged to the Presidency, by the time one or two of them loses their jobs, the rest will sit up and do what is right for the good of our football. It’s just unfortunate.”

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