Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said it would not make any financial benefits from the two friendly matches it has arranged for the Super Eagles against Luxembourg and Mali in Europe during the international window later this month and in June.
Nigeria will meet fellow West Africans, Mali at the Stade Robert Diochon in Rouen, in France on May 27. They will then face Luxembourg in Luxembourg City on June 1 at a venue yet to be finalised.
The friendly games are organised to prepare the Eagles when the African qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup resume in October. Nigeria’s poor form of late is manifest in the failure of the Eagles to reach the Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Gabon next year.
NFF Secretary General, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, was cool on the financial package negotiated by the federation through its match agent.
Rather, he said that apart from enabling the coaches to thoroughly assess the team for the World Cup challenge, the team stood to benefit from the opportunity to display the its rich culture to the rest of the world.
“It is not about the money. Everything we are doing is for national benefit, “Sanusi said. “Every time you go to play a friendly match outside Nigeria, of course, you are showcasing Nigeria and its culture and at the same time, you are trying to build a team that Nigerians will be proud of”.
Analysts have questioned the decision of the Nigerian federation to play a friendly match against Luxembourg that has no football pedigree and is the second least ranked European team in the world. The Luxembourgers are rated 146 in the world and have neither qualified for the main stage of a UEFA or FIFA tournament.
Pundits are also critical of NFF as it will play the matches at a huge cost as all the players invited for the matches by caretaker coach, Salisu Yusuf are foreign-based.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, had recently rationalised the basis for the proposed games.
He said that they tried without success to secure bigger matches with top teams as most of the countries they approached had made commitment to other teams during the coming FIFA window.