The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

NFF, Sports minister at war over Dream Team


Players of Nigeria pose for pictures before the start of their Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's football semifinal match against Germany at the Corinthains Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 17, 2016. Miguel SCHINCARIOL / AFP

Players of Nigeria pose for pictures before the start of their Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s football semifinal match against Germany at the Corinthains Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 17, 2016.<br />Miguel SCHINCARIOL / AFP

What appears a face off between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Sports minister, Solomon Dalung over the shoddy flight arrangement for the U-23 Eagles from their training camp in Atlanta to Brazil for the ongoing Rio Olympics may have began.

The NFF yesterday rejected insinuations by Dalung in a television interview that the issue of Nigeria Olympic football team being stranded in Atlanta, United States of America was a hoax.

Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, who is a ranking member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, said the entire Board was shocked by the insinuations, as the NFF President, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, had been giving them updates of useful meetings he has been having with the Sports Minister since he arrived in Brazil on Tuesday.

“The NFF Board and Management are taken aback by these insinuations. The NFF President has been telling us of meeting between him and the Minister on how to avoid the kind of situation we got into in the USA in the future. So, the Minister’s latest statements are a bombshell.

“We are not openly challenging the Minister, but we must set the records straight. To start, we do not have any partnership with Delta Airlines, a company that we owe much gratitude for the way it came to the rescue to airlift our team to Brazil. The names of NFF’s partners and sponsors are known to the public.

“Secondly, the NFF is not aware of any receipt that was presented to the Minister for airlifting the U23 team from Atlanta to Manaus. I am aware that the Minister himself requested for the phone number of our FIFA Match Agent (Mr. Jairo Pachon, who has been working with the NFF since 2009) when everybody became desperate about how the team would go to Brazil. The NFF President gave him the phone number, and the Minister himself asked Mr. Pachon to go ahead and charter an aircraft, and Pachon reverted that the amount would be $174,000, as against the $300,000 that was bandied earlier. However, the money did not reflect in the airline company’s bank account within the deadline it gave to us, so the service was cancelled. We insist that Mr. Pachon acted in the best interest of Nigeria.”

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

  • utolason

    “the minister himself asked Mr . Pachon………the amount would be $174,000, as against the $300,000 that was banded earlier”. So it requires the intervention of the sports minister to get the correct cost and for the Delta Airlines to step in and help at no cost. No wonder the minister is suspicious of the NFF management. What a show of shame.

    • EyeServis

      The NFF we all know is a mafia racketeering franchise. So no doubts there. But that shouldnt blind us to the incompetence and ineptitude of the Nigerian state, as ably demonstrated by this Mr Dalung.

      Why would you have a team (or teams) prepare for olympics without a comprehensive plan within which flight, travel and kit issues be part of?

      Should it have got to the point where philantropy becomes a first or an option?

      Whether it is $170,000 or $300,000 is irrelevant to me. If you have civil servants who cant deliver cost effective flight price for athletes and sports competitors then obviously they ought to be sacked. Again i can think of no other responsible party than a certain inept individual with a ridiculously incompetent red beret.

      Dalung is a cancer symptomatic of the Nigerian decline. He doesnt merit or deserve support. And please note the use of word MERIT. For Godsake how did this man get into such a high visibility position in a country of Nigeria’s size?

      In a country of 200 million people, could we not have somehow found a competent hand to handle the sports ministry Alhaji Buhari?

      • discovalente

        But, only a Dalung can appoint a Dalung as Minister in Nigeria. It took the President 6 months to find a blockhead like Dalung to be our sports Minister. We need to reevaluate PMB.