By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
Nigeria needs N3 billion for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Minister of youth and 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.
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 underdog 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, training, welfare for the players and team spirit, we will top that group going by the disposition of our national team.
Dalung promised that by March, the federal government intend to start paying the players their allowances upfront, saying it 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.