By Tony Nwanne
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday approved funds for the Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia.
The minister said he had to approach the president for financial assistance in view of the cash challenges facing his ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Dalung, who spoke at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, noted: “At every time we are preparing for competitions either nationally or internationally, things like this usually comes up and they would always fizzle out.
“We are prepared for participation in Zambia. I will be travelling along with the team to give them the moral and physical support, as they kick-start their campaign. I don’t think that if I would be travelling with the team, the position would still seem unclear.
“One thing Nigerians would need to know more is that in competitions like this, some of the players are coming from outside the country and there are of course international obligations, including allowances, bonuses, money you need to pay their tickets, insurance before they come, even those issues have been sorted out completely.
“I think that yes we are facing economic challenges, but the President has been quite supportive. On Sunday, I could not go to church. I had to draft a memo, which was taken to the president on Sunday, he approved it for funds to be provided for the team to travel that is how serious this government takes sports.”