The President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Aminu Maigari, told newsmen that early preparation holds the key to a great performance for the Super Eagles in the 2014 World Cup holding in Brazil. Maigari said no stone would be left unturned to achieve success. The Eagle Online was represented at the interview by Oluwasegun Noah. Excerpts:
How would you rate football under your administration last year and what is your target for this year?
Firstly, I want to give thanks to Almighty Allah (God) for keeping us alive till today and for all the successes recorded so far last year. I sincerely thank all the people, all the football stakeholders that have supported us to achieve what we did in 2013. This year again we have started on a very good note because the Super Eagles B team not only qualified for the very first time for the Africa Nations Championship but also won the bronze medal of the tournament. This is a very good beginning for us. Our female national U- 20 team, the Falconets, has also qualified for the World Cup. They did well too in the two legged friendly matches beating a strong side Ghana home and away. The Female U- 17 national team called the Flamingoes has also qualified for the World Cup. So the Super Eagles will also play in the World Cup come June this year and we are hopeful that the team will make Nigeria proud in Brazil. So it has been very good for Nigerian football.
How are the preparations so far made by the Nigerian Football Federation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?
The Nigeria Football Federation has mapped out three places in the United States of America that the Eagles will camp for the World Cup. But a final decision is yet to be taken on the actual place within the USA. The NFF has gone further to organize some quality international friendly matches for the Eagles to tune up. For instance, come March 5th this year, the team will play against Mexico in Atlanta in the United States of America. So we have a quite number of friendly matches under way and we are only waiting for the
teams involved to communicate with us on the likely dates of these matches.
Has the Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, submitted his report for the African Nations Championship?
The NFF Technical Committee met recently and summoned Coach Stephen Keshi to submit his CHAN’s technical report and the 23 team list for the friendly match against Mexico, which I believe the Coach did. He (Keshi) went further to submit his 23-man squad for the Mexico match. The two parties agreed with the names of players on the list.
As regards the main issue, which is funding, how far have you gone about getting enough funds to prosecute the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?
Our dear President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is taking Nigeria’s participation in the 2014 World Cup seriously. We are very lucky to have a football loving president and I am very sure that he will do everything humanly possible to make sure that at least NFF does not cry when it comes to funding. He (Mr. President) said it in the media that he will make sure Nigeria do well in the World Cup. That is funding. Today (Wednesday) also we were highly motivated. He started with the Nigeria Football Supporters Club by showering a lot of money (N50 million) for them to prepare for the World Cup. So if you talk about the mother body, which is the Nigeria Football Federation, I don’t think we have any cause to complain of lack of funds. I will also say it categorically and confidently that cash or funds won’t be a problem for us this time around. The Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, is up and doing with the assistance of the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, to ensure that all is well for Nigerian football. At least you can see the harmonious working relationship between the Nigeria Football Federation and the National Sports Commission now unlike in the past. We have never had it so good like we have it this time around.