Eagles Must Not Be Spectators In Russia – Buhari Charges Sports Minister

President Muhamamdu Buhari has charged Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Sports, to ensure that the Super Eagles do not participate in the 2018 World Cup in Russia as spectators.

Dalung disclosed the presidential mandate to State House correspondents after meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, revealing that the President urged him to ensure that the country sustains the tempo of successes recorded in the sports sector in 2017.

He revealed that he told the President that part of the strategies put in place by his Ministry was to ensure that all the players are paid their match, training and camp allowances upfront by March 2018.

He said their bonuses would however be in terms of their progression according to the country’s performance at the World Cup as he called for support from good spirited Nigerians towards funding the team saying government would be unable to find the team single-handedly.

“The President encouraged me to, in 2018, sustain the tempo of the successes recorded so far in 2017, especially with the World Cup in Russia,” he revealed.

“He challenged me to ensure that Nigeria does not go to Russia as a mere spectator.

“I think we have lined up so many friendlies to play with countries participating in the World Cup and top-ranking countries that did not make the competition.

“The difference we have in the budgetary allocations this time is that the budget is funded by the government, private sector and the federation (Nigeria Football Federation).

“The era when government alone will fund such a competition is no more acceptable.

“There are grants released by organisers to complement the efforts of the government, this must be declared and included in the budget.

“The money realised from sponsorships and marketing will also have to be declared to constitute the budget that will be declared for the World Cup.

“So we have a round figure that has been budgeted, which is N3bn but the NFF will raise about N1.5bn from what we are getting from FIFA and the private sector.

“Government is expected to turn in N2bn or N1.5 bin for the competition.

“I briefed the President about our plans for 2018 because it is a sports year right from February to August, there is no dull moment.

“We need the support of the President as usual and funding as it is required to enable our teams to succeed.”

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