Nigeria Set for 100% World Cup Appearance in Cash for Age Grade Teams

 

The need to give players, coaches, and officials of junior national teams (male and female) all sense of belonging would soon be the priority in Nigerian football.

This was disclosed by the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick during a media call held Monday June 1 in Abuja. The President used the occasion of the media call to answer series of questions on Nigerian football.

According to Pinnick, Nigeria’s age-grade football teams will soon know whether they will be able to go home with the entire cash pot from their appearances at FIFA World Cup tournaments as he will make a recommendation on this to the Executive Committee of the NFF with the consent of the Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare.

“We are looking to still keep the age-grade teams in business, despite priority being given to the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons. But there will be conditions. They will earn no match bonus or camp allowances and we will only be able to take on board the minimum technical and backroom staff as specified by FIFA and CAF.

“However, if any of the team goes ahead and wins the World Cup or performs well enough at the World Cup to earn appearance fee, that money will be shared by the entire team. The NFF will have no part of it. That will be the boon for them, the incentive to perform,” said Pinnick, who was the First Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) between September 2018 and July 2019, and a member of the Organising Committee for FIFA competitions.

Speaking on the money received from FIFA which was given to member federations to cushion the effect of the novel Coronavirus pandemic on global football, Pinnick said: “We were quite explicit in official press statements with regards to monies we have received from FIFA and how it would be expended. We sought the advice of FIFA on the utilisation of the monies and we have done accordingly. A few days ago, we received a circular from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on the imminence of the sum of $200,000 into our accounts. This money is our annual statutory funds from CAF and not anything special, though it is coming earlier this year”.

“Every money we receive, whether from government, sponsors or FIFA/CAF, we inform the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and we usually propose how the monies would be utilised. If the Ministry object to any particular utilisation sub-head, we comply,” he added.

Just as global football is being affected badly with the devastating effect of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, Pinnick said that Nigerian football is not an exception as the game was still licking the wound caused by the pandemic.

 

Super Falcons at 2019 FIFA World Cup Tournament

 

“This has been a decidedly spiritual year; spiritual in the sense that no one anticipated what we have seen so far in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has caused so much disruption and still causing. But we just have to live with it. We are liaising with the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and FIFA on the way forward. We have also been holding meetings; I mean the NFF Executive Committee. All with a view to forging a new frontier for the Nigeria game post Covid-19.

“Covid-19 has left businesses gasping for breath and it has been quite tough. It is tough for businesses now, so we just have to be realistic with what we expect from our sponsors and partners. We have had a number of meetings with them and we are looking at middle-ground situations that would be conducive for ourselves and for themselves. Our discussions are ongoing and we must continue to do everything to keep them in-house even as they also struggle to stay afloat. We are very practical on this matter.

“Actually, we should continue to appreciate our sponsors and partners for what they are doing. Their love of the game has kept them, as well as personal relationships. The disgruntled persons who are doing everything to foist a toxic environment on our football have even been writing to them to withdraw their sponsorship, threatening them and all that. I received a message an hour ago about someone wanting to take PwC, our external auditors, to court. We should all rise up and question the motives of these fellows. If not for personal relationships and their passion for the game, most of our partners would have pulled out as a result of the deleterious activities of these individuals.

“Before all these toxic issues polluted the football environment, we were well on the way to achieving our objective of making the NFF fully self-funding. At the end of the year 2018, we were about 60% self-funding. But much of that progress is being eroded by these unwarranted toxic issues. All the same, we are going strong because we know that only the stout-hearted survive the big challenges, and we have that,” Mr. Pinnick explained.

With Covid-19 taking its toll on the finances of the federation, the President said the NFF has to re-order its priority going forward.

 

Super Eagles of Nigeria Pose after Africa Nations Cup Win

 

“Of course, the priorities for now would be the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers involving the Super Eagles, and the Women AFCON assignment of the Super Falcons. Those are the subheads guaranteed for now. I said earlier that Covid-19 pandemic has wrought some havoc and we just have to be realistic in our expectations from both the government and our corporate partners. So, we are working with that reality and with that mindset.”

Mr. Pinnick used the opportunity of the media call to explain reason behind the renewal of the contract of the manager of the senior national team, the Super Eagles, German Gernot Rohr, who he believes has earned so much to deserve the extension. He said: “We are of the view and conviction that Mr. Gernot Rohr deserved to continue the job he is doing with the Super Eagles. I believe he has earned it. He had a right of first refusal, so it was not a problem. We included a few other things in his contract but at the end of the day, we were able to come to an agreement. Presently, I am proud of the squad that we have. Without gainsaying, we have good players competing for every department on the field in the Super Eagles squad. It is exciting and we believe the team is on to a good thing. It is important that we work with him to nurture together a team that we can all be proud of.”

He disclosed further that Nigeria is yet to receive the France 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance fee for the Super Falcons, adding that discussion is still ongoing with the FIFA on the money.

“I have always said that we have special love for the Super Falcons. That is the team that have won the most laurels for this country and we appreciate and adore them. I will be in contact with FIFA during the week to know when we will receive the appearance fee from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. That money is the sum of $760,000, and 30% of that money is for the team to share.

“And on the Head Coach for the Falcons, we are working to see how we can hold the interview to select the new Head Coach for the Super Falcons. I have a meeting with our external auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers this week, on the need for us to get this done. Once we get the appearance money from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, we will hand over the 30% that is the entitlement of the players and then ring-fence the balance for the purpose of paying the new Head Coach. Just as we did for the team going to the World Cup, we have plans to arrange quality international friendly games for them before the next AFCON competition to build a much stronger squad,” Mr. Pinnick concluded.