The Nigeria Football Federation on Monday in Lagos launched a short code – *1945# – which will be used for all campaigns that are geared towards Nigeria’s preparation and participation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia. The event was organized in conjunction with Secure and Trusted Alliance Services Limited – STA Mobile.
NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko, who is also Chairman of Marketing, Sponsorship and Television Advisory Committee, disclosed that the short code would be available for use by all NFF partners, sponsors and suppliers, in the process also revealing an ‘Official Supporter’ program into which corporate concerns not presently in relationship with the NFF can lodge to be part of Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup excitement train.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick and 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi also spoke at the event, just as STA’s Managing Director Biodun Jagun and a clutch of NFF’s current partners, including AITEO Group, Zenith Bank and TGI Group. Super Eagles’ stars Odion Ighalo and Ikechukwu Ezenwa were present, as well as former Eagles’ skipper Mutiu Adepoju – one of 16 players to have scored for Nigeria in five previous FIFA World Cup outings.
In explaining the idea behind the short code, Jagun said the plan is for a total of 100 fans of the Super Eagles to win all –expenses paid trip to the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, in four tranches of 25 people-a-month between January and April 2018.
“The Naija 4 Russia initiative is born in due season as a feel-good factor for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, which is at its highest-ever in the recent history of Nigerian Football. For the first time in the history of football in Nigeria, we have a VAS platform for the fans and supporters of Nigerian Football by way of a short code.
“The deployment of this iconic short code *1945# across USSD, IVR, SMS AND WEB platforms is designed to reward the teeming National Team followers and football lovers across the country with a chance to cheer our footballing heroes live in Russia as they take on the best teams from across the globe.
“Our business has deployed the best possible technical infrastructure and systems to ensure this VAS drive flows seamlessly. A comprehensive marketing and publicity campaign has also been put in place to guarantee TOMA and heavy media noise over the legacy and digital media ecosystem. As an addendum we are focused on ensuring the generation of appreciable revenue for the NFF and its constituents,” Jagun explained.
While Akinwunmi, Chairman of the NFF Legal Committee assured the gathering that all necessary legal permits have been obtained to run the program, Dikko informed that the NFF is targeting the sum of N2 billion from corporate organizations to support the Super Eagles’ preparation and participation at the finals (while stating clearly that whatever monies remain after the competition would be used for legacy projects).
Pinnick regaled the hall with a story of how the NFF planned for a successful 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, admitting that the chastening effect of failure to qualify for successive AFCONs spurred the Board and Secretariat to action.
“We knew we were condemned to qualify, and everybody worked hard for it. We identified the areas that needed extra effort and also knew that we needed to get a top –notch coach as well as be relevant in the game’s boardroom internationally. We scored bull’s eye in both areas and these helped us greatly in the campaign.
“I want to also commend the players and the technical crew and backroom staff. They aligned with the vision of the Board and the Secretariat and I have immense confidence that Nigeria can really dazzle the world at the World Cup in Russia next year.”
A raffle draw conducted by STA at the event to pick the first Nigerian journalist that would be sponsored to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia produced Miyen Akiri of Galaxy Television. Organizers announced that of the 25 persons that would be picked monthly for four months between January and April 2018, one would be a journalist.