By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalong yesterday in Abuja said he was quoted out of context when he reportedly said that the federal government never anticipated the victory of the Super Falcons in the just concluded African Woman Cup of Nations and so did not prepare to pay them.
Dalung made the clarification on Friday when President Muhammadu Buhari received the organisers of the National Planning and Implementation Committee of the first National Youth Open Water Swimming Competition tagged Youth Unity Cup 2016 led by Senator Kabir Gaya at the presidential Villa, Abuja. He said that government would pay.
Dalong came under criticisms on account of the statement.
He said: “Meanwhile, I conclude by trying to put into proper perspective an impression that has made national headlines to the effect that the Federal Government was not anticipating the victory of the Falcons and so could not have planned for it. This statement was attributed to myself. I want to categorically state that this is a statement taken out of context. And I cannot imagine or reconcile how.
“The commitment of the federal government to the support of the Falcons is indeed overwhelming. That explains why the Vice President himself had to abandon his tight schedule to visit the players in camp, that is evidence of preparations for victory.
“The federal government was prepared because it has records of the antecedents of the performance of the players. The challenges we have today which has to do with their welfare is being given attention. We are working around the clock to see how to raise fund to address the issue of their bonuses”
Last Thursday, while answering questions from journalists on why the AWCON champions were being owed, Dalung said “One thing I always make clear is that the process of request for funds for sporting projects must come earlier to meet the objectives.
“Don’t forget that nobody even knew the team will emerge victorious but we were confident they will emerge victorious. All the federation would have done is to plan for process of participation and entitlement and when they win it is already established in sports tradition, when you win this is what you are entitled to.”