With less than eight days to the kick off of the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is still battling to secure the funding it needs to push the Super Eagles’ campaign in the competition.
The Egypt 2019 African Cup of Nations will hold from June 25 to July 21, 2019 with Nigeria among the countries tipped to win the competition.
Feelers from the Super Eagles’ camp say Nigeria’s ambition of winning its fourth title is being hampered by paucity of funds, as the Ministry of Sports did not capture NFF’s expenditure in international competitions in the 2019 budget it submitted to the Federal Government.
An NFF official, who pleaded anonymity, said the federation has been trying to raise funds from its partners to settle some of its bills, adding, however, there is a “reluctance by some of these firms to come to our aid.”
Unlike the World Cup in which FIFA provides funding for every team’s preparation and participation in the competition, teams in the African Nations Cup take care of their contingent’s logistics except team’s accommodation, internal transportation and feeding, which is the responsibility of the host country.
He added: “some of our partners are not happy with the way some people have tried to rubbish their reputation because they are aligned to the federation.
“They have been supportive, but no company is happy when its officials are being harassed by operatives of anti-corruption organisations based on frivolous petitions by some disgruntled elements.
“Some of these companies have been forced to review their involvement in the game.
“You also recall that the ministry of sports did not include our budget in the envelop it submitted to the Federal Government as part of the annual budget and so we are left to look for money from everywhere possible to fund our programmes.”
Apart from the Nations Cup, Nigeria is also involved in the on-going FIFA Women World Cup, which the source said has stretched the NFF’s resources to its limit.
There is also the African U-23 Nations Cup and the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which are also scheduled for this year.
Recently, players of the U-20 team, who did not understand NFF’s financial situation, decided to protest the non-payment of their allowances at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland in which they crashed out in the second round.
“We have been managing to take care of the needs of the Super Falcons but it has not been easy.
“The girls need all the motivation they can get to do well in the competition and you know as girls, we have to be careful so that they don’t get emotionally disturbed.
“The NFF President, Amaju Pinnick has returned to Nigeria to source for funds for our competitions, but things look so bleak.
“It will be a big shame if we failed to succeed at the Nations Cup simply because one individual wanted to punish the leadership of the NFF by not submitting our budget to the Federal Government,” the source added.