By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
Nigeria needs N3 billion for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, minister of sports, Solomon Dalung has said.
Speaking to State House Correspondents yesterday at the Presidential Villa, he said out of the N3 billion, FIFA will contribute about N900 million and N600 million will come from sponsors and partners.
He said “Well we have a conservative budget of about N3 billion but out of that N3 billion, FIFA is going to raise about N900 million, our sponsors and partners are also going to put about N600 million, government will conservatively raise about N2 billion or N2.5 billion to compliment.
“This time, we also intend to mobilize a very strong federal government delegation that will support the team because sports is also about number. The number of people you have on ground can also give support to the players and intimidate. So, we intend to go with at least a good size of the federal government delegation to give the team support.
“We intend to make it more inclusive so that Nigerians will participate in this particular victory which Nigeria is going.
He said among the teams in Group D, Nigeria appears to be the underdog on paper but however expressed confidence that with good work, good training, good welfare for the players and team spirit, the Super Eagles will top the group.
“Nigeria falls within Group D and we appear to be the under dog going by the ranking of the teams. But I think ranking is more or less a paper job, what is very important is how you will perform and I believe that we are comfortable with the team because having tested Argentina which is highly ranked team in the group, we can say confidently that with good work, good training, good welfare for the players and team spirit, we will top that group going by the disposition of our national team.
“Some people who been arguing that Argentina did not present their best, but we also have some players we didn’t invite and we also intend to invite them. It is an issue that is going to be determined practically by the level of preparation of the Nigerian team. Don’t forget that the Nigerian team had enjoyed a formidable home support and they are inspired to deliver.
He assured that the Super Eagles will engage in more friendlies to determine their strength and areas of improvement before the final competition.
According to him”When you have a problem, for you to successfully address your problem, you have to review the history of your problem. One of the challenges we have been having in sports administration especially competition is the welfare of the players and the officiating team and we intend to set a new approach to the question of welfare.
Dalung promised that by March,the federal government intend to start paying the players their allowances, camping allowances upfront saying that will go a long way to boost the morale of the players and confidence .
“The new method of governance in football has taken the pattern of change. We will also ensure that there is unity within the football family.
“Because unity too is a key factor going by some of the reports we had in the past where poor performances were attributable to lack of unity between the family, the technical team, the officials and the players. This unity has to be promoted.
“Finally, we will also ensure that government makes funds available on time. That has been why the budget for the competition has since been sent to the President for a special intervention so that government can make provision for some of the funds we need for training now before other things can come up,” he stated.
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