NFF Finances In The Red And Gusau Can’t Dare Make Noise About This Crisis
Amaju Pinnick (PICTURED middle with Mohammed Sanusi, Ibrahim Gusau) left the NFF financially worse off than he met the football federation and that was even after the over $20 Million the Super Eagles won at two World Cups and the 15 Billion Naira the Federal Government released in intervention funds to the NFF in the last eight years.
This is besides the many friendlies organised for the Super Eagles to generate additional revenue as well as the fact that by his second term in office, Pinnick stopped bonuses for the various age-grade national teams.
Pinnick was only clever by half when in the final weeks in office he said: “We owe our hotels and traveling agencies over N600m, but I always want to guarantee the payment. So, it’s been very tough, but Nigerians don’t understand.
“Right now our sponsors are not paying on time because of the economic challenges. One of our sponsors is owing us about $6m and because of the business they do and the relationship, we have to understand. That money would have solved most of our problems.”
Who is this mystery sponsor?
Because there is no such sponsor.
Today, the NFF debt profile is conservatively put at between 1.5 Billion Naira to 2.5 Billion Naira (which is more than three times the average 800 Million Naira annual budget from the FGN) and this precarious position has been compounded by the fact that Nigeria missed out on at least $15 Million in prize monies and sponsorships no thanks to the failure to qualify for next month’s World Cup in Qatar.
But most tragically Pinnick’s successor, Ibrahim Gusau, who the former NFF President boasted he “installed”, does not have the balls to come out and raise alarm that the NFF is now one big financial mess.
Gusau has to play the “good boy” and cover up for the man who made him king.
Were the roles reversed and Pinnick was the successor and not the predecessor, you can bet he would have come out screaming from the roof tops how much the NFF are now in the red.
Pinnick did so when he took over from Aminu Maigari.
“We are going through difficult times,” he admitted in May 2015.
“People hear all kinds of stories of money or the other, yet nobody has asked where the federation is funding the participation of almost all the 13 national teams in international competitions.
“It was not just going through the papers of the federation because I know how much debt we inherited coming into this federation. It was a lot of money, not because the former federation was reckless, but because they wanted to give the teams quality preparations.”
It may have been some inconsequential observation, but Pinnick’s inaugural Executive Committee meeting was at the five-star Transcorp HIlton Hotel in Abuja.
All the Executive Committee Members were booked into the Hilton with one of them warning that these few days of luxury in Abuja could come back to bite them in the pocket.
Pinnick is not proud of the terrible financial record of the NFF and so cannot boast of how much he has left in the coffers and this is despite his many claims that the NFF are “80% financially independent of Government” thanks to his unprecendented sponsorship drive.
THIS IS WHY HE DID NOT LEAVE ANY FORMAL HANDOVER NOTES to the new NFF administration and would rather prefer his symbolic handover is widely publicised.
The new NFF led by Gusau could only open up their financial crisis in the communiqué of their inaugural meeting where they spoke about cutting costs and waste as well as embarking on aggressive sponsorship drive to bring in the cash for their many programmes.
They cannot afford to treat this financial predicament lightly or even try to cover up for those that came before them because they desperately need the money to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria Football.
A situation where the country’s biggest marketing brand, the Super Eagles, are owed a backlog of bonuses and allowances since 2019 and which has seen backroom staff now beg players for money is unacceptable.
Gusau is profiled as a seasoned accountant with more than two decades in the finance ministry in Zamfara State.
He can therefore not afford to play “good boy” by not coming out with the true financial position of the football federation because he will be judged by what he delivers in the next four years and not by carrying on with another man’s dictates.
The Executive Committee must as a matter of priority order the secretariat to furnish it with among other things a detailed breakdown of this mountain of debts they have inherited and promptly make it public.
Pinnick will not be happy with that, but Gusau and new Board have been elected to manage Nigeria Football in trust for over 200 Million Nigerians.
The larger-than-life ego of Pinnick must therefore not stand in the way of laying bare just how financially troubled the NFF are today.