The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has reacted to comments by some Nigerians that the Sports Minister never approved the trip of the national U-23 football team to Atlanta, USA to train preparatory to the just concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Sports Vanguard had earlier written that a letter by the NFF to the Sports Minister shot down his defence that he knew nothing about the team’s trip and therefore could not be held responsible for their travails in Atlanta.
In defence of the minister, some Nigerians argued that the NFF letter did not mean the minister approved the trip and wondered why the team were allowed to make the trip.
Reacting however, the NFF, through a top official to told Sports Vanguard yesterday that the sports minister did not reply the federation saying there was anything wrong with the letter nor did he express any objections.
“He (minister) did not reply saying there was anything wrong. Once we convey letter to him through the Permanent Secretary, we expect a written note for disapproval on any matter,” the NFF official told Sports Vanguard.
He added that when the minister is not reacting via a written disapproval, he does so through a telephone discussion between him and the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, adding that even “when we send a letter, the president (Pinnick) usually follows it up with a phone call.”
The NFF official who pleaded anonymity stressed that “they (sports ministry) did not express any objections to any part of the (U-23) team’s programme ahead of Rio.”
Apart from the Korea Invitational which was paid for by the organisers, the team’s training in Manchester, United Kingdom and Atlanta, USA were the programmes the NFF informed the minister about and requested the sports ministry to foot the bill.