The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday signed a deal for the payment of the new Super Eagles coach’s salary by a consortium of private firms mainly in the oil sector of the Nigerian economy.
The PUNCH learnt that the signing was carried out by top officials of the football governing body.
Earlier on Wednesday the NFF officials released a statement informing the public that they had no agreement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on payment of Eagles coach.
They were reacting to a story in public domain that the federation had secured the sum of $1.5m from the NNPC as sponsorship for salaries of the incoming coach.
Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, said, “The story is the figment of the imagination of the writers. Nobody in the NFF or NNPC discussed the matter of salary of Eagles’ coach and there is no iota of truth in it.
“Of course, we would be happy if the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation can come into Nigeria football, as we are trying to attract more corporate bodies into the Nigeria game. But there has been no discussion between NFF and the NNPC over payment of the new Super Eagles’ Head Coach or technical crew.”
The PUNCH checks however confirmed that even though the NNPC would not directly raise the cash for the NFF, the national petroleum company helped to broker the deal. Our correspondent learnt that top functionaries at the corporation were not comfortable when the body was listed as the provider of the funds by the media.
“They may have been involved with helping to broker the arrangement but it isn’t directly NNPC funded and that was why the NFF had to clarify the situation. But soon the details will be made public because the deal was signed in Abuja today (Wednesday),” an NFF official said.
The process for the appointment of a new Eagles coach is on with the NFF Technical and Development Committee having shortlisted Salisu Yusuf, Belgian Tom Saintfiet and Frenchman Paul Le Guen for a final interview. And as The PUNCH reported on Tuesday Le Guen has taken an assailable lead to become the coach. Saintfiet, it was reported on Wednesday, is hopeful of securing a job with an Asian country.
The NFF committee will meet on Monday to finalise the process and announce the successful candidate, after a presentation to the NFF Executive Committee.