By James Agberebi:
Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has expressed sadness that the football house was held responsible for the financial issues regarding the Super Eagles and just recently the Super Falcons.
Players of the Super Falcons who won this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations had to embark on a protest to force the payment of their entitlements.
Also it was reported that the Super Eagles were not paid after defeating Algeria on matchday 2 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Only last week, the presidency ordered for the payment of outstanding allowances and bonuses owed players of the two senior national teams.
Speaking as guests alongside NFF second Vice President and Chairman of League Management Company, Shehu Dikko, on Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Tuesday morning, Pinnick defended the actions of his organisation.
“We feel bad about what happened regarding the Falcons, We hold our women’s teams very highly,” Pinnick said.
“We requested for funds as early as July, and another memo was sent to the ministry after the game against Zambia.
“We sent memos on the Super Eagles, Super Falcons to the ministry early enough.
“The minister (Solomon Dalung) was with me when we convinced the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to come to the training sessions. He was aware of everything.
“I was at the airport tarmac to welcome the Falcons from Cameroon and got our Emzor to receive them and give them some money.
“Claims of neglect are totally incorrect. In Abuja, the Falcons were received in Abuja by the NFF management led by the Gen. Sec (Mohammed Sanusi).
“I have immense regard for women. I never said the players should rot in the hotel. That is ridiculous.”
Pinnick stated that endless litigation another issue affecting the NFF from carrying out their duties, while reacting to claims FIFA suspended payment to the NFF because previous funds were not well managed.
He said: “Distractions of court cases have also worked against our aggressive and robust marketing drive.
“FIFA audit query is like any audit query. It is between the finance departments of NFF and FIFA.
“They only had compliance issues with our TSA and cash transactions.
“Negative statements which most times are without facts and distractions do not help our work.
“Our target is to see the Super Eagles break new grounds after making it to Russia 2018 World Cup.”
On his part, Dikko revealed that the NFF is working on finding a solution as regards funding for the national teams.
Dikko also rubbished talks that NFF Presidents, past and present, always enrich themselves while in office.
“We need to re-evaluate the funding structure for Sports. We proposed a budget of nearly N7 billion, but got N1.1 billion. For AWCON 2016, only N18m was approved. One Super Eagles match cost us about N200 Million,” the LMC boss claimed.
“We are working on a new strategy for funding of national teams by private sector, we need peace and tranquility to make this work.
“Which past NFF President has gone on to become a multi-millionaire? If there is money in NFF and so much to steal, they would have been.
“The NFF Integrity Initiative adopted at the AGA (Annual General Assembly)is meant to ensure that everyone is transparent and accountable.”