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The Federal Government of Nigeria has budgeted N3bn to enable the
Super Eagles to have a successful outing at the 2018 World Cup.
Nigeria is tied in group D alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, disclosed this
to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with
President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on
Tuesday.
Dalung said while sponsors and partners would raise part of the money,
the substantial part of the "conservative budget" would be provided by
the Federal Government.
"We have a conservative budget of about N3bn but out of that N3bn,
FIFA is going to raise about N900m; our sponsors and partners are also
going to bring about N600m. Government will conservatively raise about
N2bn or N2.5bn to complement," the minister said.
He said plans were underway to ensure that the players get their
allowances upfront latest by March 2018.
"One of the challenges we have been facing in sports administration is
the welfare of the players and the officiating team and we intend to
set a new approach to the question of welfare.
"By March, we intend to start paying the players their allowances,
camping allowances upfront. That will go a long way to boost the
morale of the players and their confidence too.
"The new method of governance in football has taken the pattern of
change. We will also ensure that there is unity within the football
family.
"Unity, too, is a key factor going by some of the reports we had in
the past where poor performances were attributable to lack of unity
between the family, the technical team, the officials and the players.
This time, unity has to be promoted.
"Finally, we will also ensure that government makes funds available on
time. That is why the budget for the competition has since been sent
to the President for a special intervention so that government can
make provision for some of the funds we need for training now before
other things can come up," the minister explained.
He said, "We are comfortable with the team because having tested
Argentina which is a highly ranked team in the group, we can say
confidently that with good work, good training, good welfare for the
players and team spirit, we will top that group going by the
disposition of our national team.
"After the groupings, Nigeria falls within Group D and we appear to be
the underdog going by the ranking of the teams.
"But I think ranking is more or less a paper job, what is very
important is how you will perform and I believe that we are
comfortable with the teams.
"Some people have been arguing that Argentina did not present their
best, but we also have some players we didn't invite and we also
intend to invite them. It is an issue that is going to be determined
practically by the level of preparation of the Nigerian team. Don't
forget that the Nigerian team had enjoyed a formidable home support
and they are inspired to deliver.
"So we will engage in more friendlies to try and determine our
strength and areas of improvement before the final competition."

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