Sunday, August 21, 2016 3:31 pm
Nigeria Football Federation,NFF, has blasted former goalkeeper, Peterside Idah, for a mischievous post on his tweeter handle before Nigeria versus Honduras’ third place match of the Men’s Football event of Rio 2016 Olympic Games, suggesting the federation wanted to ‘hijack’ the donation to the team by Japanese plastic surgeon, Dr. Katsuya Takasu.
The donation, totalling $390,000, came from Takasu to boost the morale of the Nigerian players who have been bogged down by financial inadequacies.
Mr. Takasu informed the Nigerian government through its embassy in Tokyo that he intended to make the donation, adding that he would fly Brazil to personally hand in the funds to the players and also watch Nigerian team’s duel with Honduras played on Saturday.
Nigeria defeated Honduras 3-2, winning bronze at the Olympics, 20 years after they defeated Argentina to clinch gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.
Mr. Takasu said the team coach, Samson Siasia, and their captain, Mikel Obi, should each take $200,000 and $190,000, respectively.
But out of the blue on Saturday afternoon, reports emerged that some NFF officials had ‘hijacked’ the process and demanded that Mr. Takasu must hand the money to them for onward disbursement to team members.
Idah Peterside, a sports analyst and former goalkeeper for the Super Eagles, was amongst the first persons to raise the alarm on social media.
“His message was a lie, an atrocious false alarm before an important match, ” said president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick. “I had exchanged correspondence with the Honourable Minister on the issue of the donation and we agreed that there was need for caution. The Minister said to me that he read the donation in the papers and had expressed serious concern. I also received a mail from the NFF Integrity Officer who expressed very serious concern with this kind of donation.
“I got in touch with the Ambassador of Nigeria to Brazil and the Honourable Minister to say that whatever had to be done should be done after the Bronze Medal Match, to avoid any distractions. The NFF may be having financial challenges, but I assure you nobody in the Federation is interested in that money.
“If we get the government’s go-ahead to collect the money, no official of the NFF will be involved even in the collection. The money will be received directly by the team.”
Pinnick added that the status of Nigeria as a sovereign nation, and the integrity of Nigeria football, is bigger than such financial gains. “If we had rushed to collect that kind of money and hand over to the players, the same people who are condemning the NFF now would have said worse things.
“There are matters in the football world today that FIFA and the various confederations frown at. We are very much aware of that”