* Rohr replaces injured Balogun with Agbo
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is in the fix as it is struggling with preparations for the Super Eagles’ visit to Zambia next weekend for the 2018 World Cup qualifier because of scarcity of foreign exchange.
After failing to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations next year in Gabon, Nigeria will be pitching to be at the World Cup and salvage its reputation as a continental soccer powerhouse.
THISDAY scooped last night that the high aspiration could be imperiled by the inability of the federation to source for dollars to prosecute the match.
The Super Eagles are expected to travel by a chartered flight to Ndola, for a showdown with Zambia on October 9 in one of the opening fixtures in Group B.
A reliable NFF source disclosed last night that aside other obligations, the executive committee was still banking on the Ministry of Sports to provide money to charter a flight to Ndola.
THISDAY also learnt last night that travel agencies were also declining to issue flight tickets to the foreign-based players invited by coach Gernot Rohr, stemming from the federation’s failure to redeem outstanding debts on tickets previously issued.
Rohr, who will be overseeing his second match as the national coach, invited 20 players who ply their trades in Europe for the confrontation against the Cooper Bullets.
Though NFF did not pay a bonus to the players following their victory against Tanzania in Uyo last month, in an African Cup of Nations match deemed ”a dead rubber”, officials led by the President Amaju Pinnick, are unsure of how to shop for bonus, given the free fall of the naira in the parallel market.
An official, who pleaded not to be named, predicted an unfolding crisis in Ndola in view of the foreign exchange scarcity caused by global decline in price of oil.
The dollars exchanged for N450 to the Naira yesterday in the parallel market, a rate which NFF claimed it making a mess of its operation as its projection was made at the rate of N200 to a dollar for the season.
Meanwhile, Rohr has replaced injured defender Leon Balogun with Uche Henry Agbo. FSV Mainz 05 of Germany centre-back Balogun, who shone in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania in Uyo earlier this month, was named in Nigeria’s 23-man roster for the big match before copping an injury.
Granada FC of Spain’s Agbo has already been contacted by Rohr and his invitation letter sent to his club by the NFF.
He will join the other players who are expected to start arriving at the Bolton White Hotel and Apartments, Abuja on Sunday.