By Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja
‘We negotiated Nike deal from a weak point’
THE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says it is currently finding it difficult to raise fund for all the national teams representing the country in different international championships because it is broke.
The NFF also disclosed that the present board is battling to repay a huge debt portfolio, which it inherited from the former board led by Aminu Maigari.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said yesterday in Abuja that the board has serious financial challenges, even as it works hard to ensure that the national teams get the best preparations to enable them do well in championships.
Pinnick, however, noted that the huge debt was not as a result of their recklessness, but because they were determined to give the national teams quality preparation for championships, which yielded positive results with the victories Nigeria recorded within the past four years. “We are facing very difficult times preparing all the national teams with little fund.
For example, to bring about 20 Super Eagles players to camp for a match takes between $80, 000 to $90, 000. Things are very difficult for us at the federation. In spite of that we are still trying to put certain things in order,” he said.
Pinnick also explained the situation that compelled the federation to sign the $750, 000 kit contract with Nike, confessing that the federation entered into negotiations with the sports wears outfit from a weak position.
He revealed that the NFF did the deal just for the purpose of securing kit sponsorship for the national teams after all other companies it earlier approached rejected it.
Pinnick also stated that the current position of the Super Eagles, as well as the fact the national team did not qualify for the last Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea also counted against the federation in the deal, where Nike’s responsibility would only be to supply kits worth $750,000 to the national teams for three and a-half year period.
Reacting to criticisms that trailed the contract, Amaju said the deal was the best the federation could get, stressing that it was in a very pitiable situation that even lesser companies were rejecting the country’s proposals. “I kept that contract to myself for a long time before I decided to share it with the secretariat. I can tell you that the last four years has been the best period of Nigerian football.’
Now we are supposed to be a choice candidate for corporate kit sponsors, but regrettably no sponsor wants to identify with us.
That is food for thought; we would not want to go into details. I spoke with almost every kit manufacturing company but no one was able to pen a deal with us. So when Nike came with their conditions, we said okay, why not. “We had serious challenges securing kit sponsors for our various teams.
I always rush to this office to approve money so that we can go and purchase Adidas jerseys’ that Nigeria would wear,” he said.
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