The Federal government has thrown its weight behind the mobilization of non- state resources for the Super Eagles’ participation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup scheduled for Russia from 14th June to 15th July.
This was made known at a Fund Raising Gala night for the the Super Eagles held at the Banquet Hall, State House at the weekend.
In a welcome address, the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung noted that preparation and participation of national teams in regional and international sports competitions had sometimes been marred by funds constraints.
The Minister said that challenges of funding had limited the preparation, welfare and motivation of sports men and women, resulting in poor performance and under-achievement, hence the need to seek alternative funding sources for the teams.
“We are prepared to change this unsatisfactory outcome with presidential support and guidance, as well as stakeholders’ engagement and buy-in.
“Knowing very well that Government alone cannot shoulder all sports expenses, we have decided to strengthen our collaborations with the private sector to mobilize non-state resources.
“We are equally focused on ensuring that funds mobilized are judiciously used to facilitate and boost the participation of the Super Eagles in the tournament. We are determined to operate in line with our Change Agenda and Mr. President’s anti-corruption posture.”
Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr Olusade Adesola reiterated government’s promise to ensure judicious use of funds generated.
”In time past, fears had been expressed that donations received were not utilized for the purposes it was meant for. This has had a negative effect on the willingness of corporate bodies to support worthy causes such as this. May I use this opportunity to reassure Your Excellencies and patriotic Nigerians, that in line with this administration’s drive for accountability, the funds realized would be judiciously utilized solely for the purpose of supporting the Super Eagles to a glorious outing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup”.
A budget for the Super Eagles preparations and participation at the Russia FIFA World Cup Final is estimated at N3billion out of which N1.5billion is expected from Government, and the balance of N1.5billion is proposed to be generated through fund-raising efforts.
Mr Adesola therefore enjoined well-meaning individuals, businessmen and women, and the corporate sector to boost Government’s contributions towards preparation and participation at the tournament by contributing generously towards the project.
Among the donors at the event are AITEO who gave N50m, businessman and Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum Chief Arthur Eze donated N25m while Abia and Kano states announced N5m respectively. Lagos and Kebbi states including Total Nigeria did not publicly disclose their donations.
Three former members of the Super Eagles team Samson Siasia, Waidi Akanni and Augustine Eguavoen in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation are spearheading the fundraise.