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FG approves N1.6bn for Eagles

The Federal Government has approved N1.6bn for Nigeria’s 2014 World Cup campaign. Source learnt the amount was approved as a ‘special grant’ for the World Cup, which makes it separate from the budgetary allocation of the Nigeria Football Federation as contained in the 2014 national budget.

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A breakdown of the approved sum for the Brazil 2014 campaign shows that the money will not only cover the Super Eagles participation in the finals of the FIFA competition, but will also cover their training programmes in the build-up to the event. The Super Eagles are billed to camp in the United States of America for the Mundial.

The Minister of Sports Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi told our correspondent that the government was giving the country’s participation in the World Cup the highest level of attention necessary to make the Eagles excel.

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He said, “We are aware of the financial challenges of Nigerian teams while preparing for big events. It is not just about football but sports in general including the Commonwealth Games and the World Youth Olympics also coming up this year. In view of the challenges posed by the budgetary process, we had to work ahead to get funding for the teams in a way that funds will not hamper the entire plans.

“President Goodluck Jonathan has keenly followed the problems over the years and that has made it possible for us to find a solution that will be beneficial to the athletes and their aspirations and the entire country at large.”

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An official of the National Sports Commission, who spoke with source on the condition anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said the minister was also working to get extra funds from independent sectors to complement what the government had given.

He said, “The minister is considering leading big players in the private sector to help raise funds for the team also. The idea is to ensure that nobody has any excuse to fail. If the funds come early and sufficient, then the rest is left for the team and their managers. We have heard about poor funding as reason for not performing well in the past and that is what is being avoided now.”

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