President Muhammadu Buhari has approved funds to aid the Super Eagles’ trip to Ndola, venue of Sunday’s World Cup qualifying game against Zambia’s Chipolopolo.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, made this known on Thursday in Abuja while fielding questions from reporters at the National Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), who are largely funded by government, are facing financial challenges owing to the country’s recession for the first time in more than a decade.
In response to the cash-strapped football house, Dalung reminded Nigerians that the NFF are not new to this situation, assuring that there would always be a way out.
“Each time we are preparing for competitions, either nationally or internationally, things [news of paucity of funds] like this usually come up and they would always fizzle out.
“We are prepared for the match against Zambia. I will be travelling along with the team to give them moral and physical support.”
He further stated that all arrangements for the game have been sorted out, calling on Nigerians not to panic.
“One thing Nigerians would need to know more is that, in competitions like this, some of the players are coming from outside and there are of course international obligations relating to some of the allowances, bonuses, money you need to pay for their tickets, insurance before they come. These issues have been sorted out completely.
“Yes, we are facing economic challenges, but the president has been quite supportive. On Sunday, I could not go to church, I had to draft a memo, which was taken to the president on Sunday and he approved it — for funds to be provided for the team to travel. That is how serious this government takes sports.”
Eagles To Land In Zambia On Saturday
Meanwhile, the NFF have confirmed that the Super Eagles would travel to Zambia on Saturday.
According to a statement on the federation’s website, 23 players and 15 team officials would be on the flight, including some top officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and some members of the National Assembly.