The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be facing not just the hurdle of the Zambian team in the coming week, but the yoke of financial uncertainty.
Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation has warned that lack of finance could scupper Nigeria’s chances of making it to the Russia 2018 World Cup.
According to Pinnick, who appeared on Tuesday before the Senate committee on Sports, the NFF is yet to pay for hotel fees for 70 rooms they’ve secured at Protea hotel, Zambia and other expenses like airline fees might make them not to honour their first 2018 World cup qualifier match against the Chipolopolo of Zambiaon Sunday.
Pinnick said: ‘Nigeria was paired with former African Cup winner Zambia, Algeria, and Cameroon that won the Nations cup four times and they’ve been to the World Cup seven times.’
‘Algeria is the highest ranked team in Africa as we speak. It is a group that is called ‘group of death’ which means we need to intensify our preparations . We need to monitor our players to make sure that the ticket is made available.
‘The good news is that i think we have a very sound technical crew and we also have a lot of our players doing very well, but the missing link is our financial incapacity which activates practically everything you do on the field and off the field.”
”Before now, we had sent representation to government for intervention because funds were not coming in from our sponsors, which relates to the economy of the country at the moment and is being very difficult for them, that is what they claim’
‘So we didn’t have any option than to resort to writing to the government, which we did and are still waiting for response and the match is in five days.’
Pinnick also revealed that chartered flight arrangements with Arik air had been secured but that they have not been able to pay for their hotel in Zambia.
”We have been able to secure about 60 to 70 rooms but we need to make some payments so that they will keep the rooms because everybody wants to come and watch that game from Zambia and that is our predicament”