Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: NSC Withholding NFF's Afcon Money - Gombe

Less than three days to the kick off of the 29th edition of the biennial African Cup of Nations tournament in South Africa, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is yet to get the needed funds to prosecute the continental soccer showpiece.

Foremost sports critic, Alhaji Ahmed Gara Gombe told Daily Trust yesterday that the National Sports Commission (NSC) is withholding the funds allocated to the nation's football governing body for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa, even as the N790 million approval has been released to the commission by the Federal Government.

He also said the Commission last Friday also received its N220 million allocation for the continental soccer fiesta.

The former Gombe State Football Association Chairman therefore urged Nigerians to call for the heads of the leadership of the NSC if the Super Eagles fail to impress at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

"It is worrisome to note that three days to the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, the National Sports Commission is yet to release the N790 million allocation to then NFF despite receiving the money from the government.

"More worrisome is the fact that the Commission on its part received its own share of N220 million meant for the same event last Friday. So, Nigerians should hold the Commission responsible if the Eagles fail in South Africa", Gombe stated.

But swift reaction, the Director of Press in the National Sports Commission, Mr. Tony Ohaeri, who described the allegation as mischievous, said the Commission is yet to receive the money from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for onward transmission to the NFF.

Ohaeri however said the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is in the process of having the money released to the Commission for the championship.

"We have not received the money from the Accountant General's office, they (Accountant General's office) is still in the process of getting the money for the NFF. You can go and confirm this from the Accountant General's office.

"We (NSC) have no reason to withhold the money approved to the NFF for AFCON 2013; we have not done that before and we cannot do that now. This is mischief and people should stop being mischievous", said Ohaeri.

When contacted, Deputy Director Media in the NFF, Ademola Olajire said the federation is still waiting on the funds, but says he was sure the money will be available before the Nations Cup starts on Saturday.

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