The Nigeria Football Federation has blasted a report in one of the national dailies of Monday, 29th June, 2015, which claimed that the Federation has abandoned the U-23 National Team that is campaigning for a place at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire said the report was riddled with factual errors right from the first paragraph.
“It is strange for the reporter to tell the world that the U-23 team is seeking to qualify for the All-Africa Games, almost THREE MONTHS after the team defeated Zambia in Lusaka to earn a spot at the Games coming up in Congo in September.
“The report went on to, unfairly, castigate the NFF for ‘abandoning’ the team. This is far from the truth because the NFF has never shirked its responsibility of catering for any of the National Teams.”
Olajire also picked holes in the claim that the team has been training and playing friendly matches in Adidas kits, and that officials are being owed.
“The U-23 team played a friendly match against Wikki Tourists in Bauchi penultimate weekend and dorned NIKE kits. A report calculated to set our sponsors, NIKE, against Nigeria is not in the best interest of the country.
“Only last week, the Head Coach of the team, Samson Siasia, praised the NFF for its efforts in meeting up with its responsibilities to the players and officials.”
The NFF spokesman appealed to the generality of the media to always seek to verify reports before going to town.
“There are some people, even outside the media, who would never believe they have woken up if they don’t have a go at the NFF. The Federation is never bothered, as long as it continues to pursue its vision of using the game of football to further unite Nigerians and ensure the National Teams do the country proud globally.
“The present NFF administration remains committed to putting structures and policies in place to ensure credible performances by the National Teams at international level and to build a sustainable football culture that our people would be proud of.”
The Dream Team will take on the U-23 National Team of Congo in Port Harcourt on Sunday, 19th July, in final round, first leg qualifying match for the African U-23 Championship taking place in Senegal in December. It is at the tournament in Senegal that Africa’s three representatives to the Men’s Football Tournament of next year’s Olympics will emerge, with the fourth –placed team to go into a play-off against a team from Asia.