The Nigeria Football Federation has strongly rejected insinuations made by the Minister of Sports Barr. Solomon Dalung in a recent TV interview that the Nigeria Olympic football team being stranded in Atlanta, was a hoax.
In the interview on Thursday, DalungÂ hinted that shady deals by the NFF were behind the countryâ€™s football team being stranded for several days at their training base in Atlanta, before they finally made their way to the Olympics in Brazil.
Â â€œThe Atlanta event was quiet dirty and some of the actors (involved) cannot stand before Nigeria (to answer to these charges),â€ Dalung alleged. â€œThe event of Atlanta was another attempt to rip the country off.â€
After hearing of the interview,Â Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande said everyone in the NFF was shocked on the allegations made by the Sports Minister seeing that the NFF President Amaju Pinnick has been giving the sports minister constant updates since the minister arrived in Rio de Janeiro.
â€œThe NFF Board and Management are taken aback by these insinuations. The NFF President has been telling us of meeting between him and the Minister on how to avoid the kind of situation we got into in the USA in the future. So, the Ministerâ€™s latest statements are a bombshell.â€™ Yahaya told theNff.com.
â€œWe are not openly challenging the Minister, but we must set the records straight. To start, we do not have any partnership with Delta Airlines, a company that we owe much gratitude for the way it came to the rescue to airlift our team to Brazil. The names of NFFâ€™s partners and sponsors are known to the public.
â€œSecondly, the NFF is not aware of any receipt that was presented to the Minister for airlifting the U23 team from Atlanta to Manaus. I am aware that the Minister himself requested for the phone number of our FIFA Match Agent (Mr. Jairo Pachon, who has been working with the NFF since 2009) when everybody became desperate about how the team would go to Brazil. The NFF President gave him the phone number, and the Minister himself asked Mr. Pachon to go ahead and charter an aircraft, and Pachon reverted that the amount would be $174,000, as against the $300,000 that was bandied earlier. However, the money did not reflect in the airline companyâ€™s bank account within the deadline it gave to us, so the service was cancelled. We insist that Mr. Pachon acted in the best interest of Nigeria.â€
Yahaya-Kwande also talked about allegations that the NFF bloated the team list that flew to Rio in order to carry â€˜their own peopleâ€™.
â€œAs I speak with you, the only NFF top officials at the Olympics are the NFF Technical Director and the NFF President. I would like to be proved wrong on this.
â€œThe NFF Board has always displayed integrity in all its financial dealings and have always communicated to the Minister on every financial transaction and detail. On this too, we would like to be proved wrong.â€