By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Super Eagles campaign at the FIFA World Cup starting in barely 25 days from today in Russia will be devoid of all the trappings that make Nigeria to be in the news for the wrong reasons.
THISDAY checks revealed at the weekend that the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has finally secured the $2.8million it budgeted for a successful outing at the Mundial this summer.
In addition to the $2million from FIFA for all the Russia-bound teams, the NFF has also been able to raise the balance $800,000 to complete the World Cup budget.
The funds cover the entire agreement the federation reached with Super Eagles players shortly before Nigeria’s friendly against Argentina in Russia last November.
As Eagles begin to troop into the Ibom Resort in Uyo today for the planned friendly with DR Congo on May 28 in Port Harcourt, handlers of the three-time African champions sole responsibility is purely technical without going grey over players allowances and bonuses.
President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, confirmed to THISDAY yesterday that money was not going to be the problem of Eagles in Russia.
“We are glad that our efforts and relationship with FIFA has always paid off. We were also able to raise $800,000 in addition which has given us at the NFF the exact money we need to prosecute the World Cup and the remaining pre-World Cup matches,” observed the NFF chief on telephone last night.
Pinnick is particularly happy that there will be no repeat of the ugly scenario that degenerated into Super Eagles abandoning training in Brazil due to unpaid bonuses shortly before Nigeria played crucial second round game against France.
“We are confident now that there will be no any form of distraction for the players in Russia. This will allow the players and officials concentrate on the business of the World Cup,” stressed Pinnick who also doubles as CAF executive committee member.
The current NFF board led by Pinnick has in the last three years worked assiduously at eliminating all forms of disagreements and distractions with the players.
All the 30 players selected in Gernot Rohr’s provincial 30-man list are expected to troop into the Uyo camp beginning today.
After the friendly with DR Congo, the final list of 23 players is expected to be released on June 1 before taking on England’s Three Lions 24 hours later at the Wembley Stadium.
However, according to Rohr, there will be two extra players on standby with the team in London in case of injury.
The team will then proceed to the third and final phase of camping in Austria with the final 23 players to take on Czech Republic in the last friendly game on June 6 before flying to their World Cup base camp in Yessentuki in Russia.
Eagles will open their World Cup campaign on June 16 against Croatia in Kaliningrad before playing debutants Iceland on June 22 at the Volgograd Arena. Their final group game is against two-time champions Argentina on June 26 in St. Petersburg