Sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung has sent out a passionate plea to football stakeholders in the country and members of the private sector to roll out supportive efforts in the Super Eagles’ quest for glory at Russia 2018 World Cup.
Dalung further said corporate bodies and other commercial outfits should also key into the scheme, as he stressed that the federal government should not be left to the task of funding football and other sports for the country.
He affirmed as much during a at a Fund Raising Gala night for the Eagles, which held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Three former members of the Eagles, Samson Yebowei Siasia, Waidi Akanni and Augustine Eguavoen in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation are spearheading the fundraising.
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.
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.
In his welcome address, 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 sportsmen 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.”