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NFF set for showdown with minister over move to ‘overhaul’ federation

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NFF President Amaju Pinnick PHOTO: Twitter


• ‘We’ve not received kobo from FG in six matches’
• Dare not at war with anybody, says aide

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) may be getting ready for a showdown with Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, following his declaration that he would overhaul the Super Eagles and also restructure the administrative architecture of the football body.

Since the Super Eagles squandered a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Benin City, and later drew 0-0 in Freetown in their 2021 AFCON qualifying series, the minister has not hidden his disappointment with the team’s technical crew led by Gernot Rohr.

Dare lamented that the results of the games against Sierra Leone showed that Rohr cannot meet Nigerians’ aspirations, adding that he will look at the technical adviser and also the entire people involved in football administration in the country.

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However, a top official of the NFF countered Dare’s claim yesterday, saying that the sports minister does not have the power to overhaul the football body.
“Does the sports minister have the power to overhaul the NFF? He doesn’t,” the NFF official declared in an interview with The Guardian yesterday. “If Sunday Dare wants to behave like his predecessor, Solomon Dalung, I wish him well. The position he is taking currently against the NFF and the Super Eagles is capable of denying Nigeria the ticket to the 2022 World Cup.”

The angry NFF official continues: “I know very well that the Presidency does not support Dare’s position against the NFF and the Super Eagles. The Presidency has always insisted that the ministers should not wage war against parastatals under them. Why will Dare see the NFF as an enemy, instead of looking for a way to support us to move Nigeria’s football forward?

“As we speak, the NFF has not received a kobo from the sports ministry for the six matches the Super Eagles played against Lesotho, Benin Republic, two friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia in Austria, and the recent home and away fixtures against Sierra Leone. Dare is not interested in how the NFF gets money to execute matches. Is that the best way to administer sports? Nigeria is the only country in Africa that has not received a dime from its government in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.”

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Asked how the NFF got the funds to execute six games without support from the government, the official said: “FIFA has been very helpful to us in that regard. We also got some money from our sponsors. But we still need huge amount of money to settle some pending debts. Nigerians should tell the sports minister to refrain from his present stance against the NFF and the Super Eagles. He wants Rohr sacked for playing two draws against Sierra Leone. This is the same coach that led the Super Eagles to beat Argentina, Cameroun, drew with Brazil, and also won several matches. It will be wickedness on our part to sack him now.”

Contacted yesterday, the Special Adviser on Media to the Sports Minster, John Joshua-Akanji said Dare was not at war with anybody. He explained: “The NFF is a parastatal under the sports ministry, and it is too small for the minister to wage war against. Every Nigerian has interest in football, and when the team is not doing well, it is the duty of the sports minister to intervene. It is the sports minister who goes to the Presidency for funds, and it is normal for him to show concern.”

On alleged refusal by the ministry to provide money for the NFF in six matches, Joshua-Akanji said: “I don’t know anything concerning money. I think the Permanent Secretary is in the best position to speak on it.”

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