Respite for NFF as Aiteo Group Splashes N2.5bn on Coaches’ Salaries

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Duro Ikhazuagbe

The perennial bickering over the payment of salaries of coaches attached to the national teams appears over for the next five years as Nigeria’s foremost energy solutions company, Aiteo Group, wednesday sealed a five-year partnership agreement worth N2.5 billion with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

According to details of the contract signed at the Eko Hotels and Suites, it confers on Aiteo Group the title of the Official Optimum Partner of the NFF. The yearly value is put at N500 million in support of the national coaches and activation of the partnership agreement and the marketing agency, Mediterranean.

The partnership, which is the first in the country’s sports sponsorship for the energy giant, will start on May 1, 2017, and has an initial option of one-year extension.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Deputy Managing Director of Aiteo, Mr Francis Peters, who signed on behalf of the CEO of the Group, said that the partnership represents a new dawn for Nigerian football.

“When Amaju (Pinnick) was contesting to head the federation in 2014, I said then that because of what he has done with Delta State football he was capable of taking Nigeria to the final of the World Cup. Even if we don’t win the Mundial during his tenure at the Glass House, the world will appreciate he indeed made an impact, This partnership will take away the distraction of looking for money to pay coaches and help the federation concentrate on its training programmes,” stressed the deputy managing director with optimism.

Also throwing light on the deal, Aiteo’s Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Ndiana-Abasi Matthew, said: “Aiteo Group’s overarching social responsibility objectives are to encourage a positive impact, through our activities on the society-at-large and has successfully done so for several years.

“Football brings joy to the lives of Nigerians and each moment celebrated by families in their living rooms over a goal scored or friends catching up on highlights of a well-taken free kick by their local heroes, leaves an indelible mark with memories for a life time.”

NFF President Amaju Pinnick said: “This is a heartwarming landmark in the history of football sponsorship in Nigeria. I am very happy that a critical area of our expenditure is being taken care of by this agreement.”
Aiteo Group is one of Africa’s fastest–growing energy leaders. It operates through her subsidiaries of which Aiteo Eastern E&P Co. Ltd is one.

“Aiteo has a clear vision for the future, with the experience and assets necessary to provide oil and gas products on a regional and global scale,” noted the NFF chief who was voted into CAF’s Executive Committee last month in Ethiopia.

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper and captain, Peter Rufai, who was at the event with the 1997 African Footballer of the Year, Victor Ikpeba, commended the oil giant for the laudable support for Nigerian football.
“Football is not about players and coaches alone. It is a collective thing to make the country succeed. With this partnership, we are beginning to see the right people in charge of the country’s football. We are beginning to see genuine attempts to right the wrongs done to the country’s football,” concludes the former goalkeeper fondly called Dodo Mayana by his legion of supporters.

At yesterday’s epoch–making event were NFF President Pinnick, Aiteo’s Deputy Managing Director Francis Peters, NFF 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi, NFF 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko, Mr. Tunde Akinpelu (MD, Nembe Creek Trunk Line), Mr. Bismark Rewane (MD, Financial Derivaties), Mr. Chris Green (Chairman, NFF Technical and Development Committee), and A. U. Mustapha, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Also present at the event were Andrew Onyearu (SAN), Mr. Victor Okoronkwo (Senior VP, Commercial and Gas, Aiteo Eastern E&P Co. Ltd), Ms Aisha Falode (Chairman, Nigeria Women Football League), Mr. Mitchel Obi (President Africa, AIPS), former Nigeria internationals Rufai and Ikpeba, Ademola Olajire (NFF’s Director of Media and Communications), Ndiana-Abasi Matthew (Aiteo’s Senior Manager, Corporate Communications), as well as other football stakeholders.