By: AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Nigeria Football Supporters Club have commended Nigerian Ambassador to Russia. Prof Steve Ugbah for his commitment to sports development which led to the inauguration of the Russian chapter of the club in Moscow before the commencement of the World Cup.
President General of the club, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo made the commendation when he presented a letter of appreciation to the envoy at the Nigerian House in Russia.
According to Oladipo, the leadership qualities of the ambassador led to many Nigerians who travelled to Russia for the Mundial feel at home and charged other Nigerian envoys to emulate him.
He informed the ambassador that the club is made up of patriotic Nigerian men and women who spend their hard earned money to travel with the national teams to various parts of the World to give them the required support,noting that although Nigeria crashed early but the presence of the club was felt everywhere in the host cities.
Oladipo lamented that if not for the financial assistance of few philanthropic Nigerians they would have not been able to make the Russian trip even as he accused Nigeria. Football Federation of not doing anything to encourage them in Russia.
” Sir, I want to on behalf of the Supporters Club thank you for your support at ensuring a chapter of our great club was inaugurated in Russia.
” I want to tell you that the club was adjudged as the best Supporters Club in the World by FIFA in 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 but not minding all these achievements. NFF never deemed it fit to carry the club along during planning for the World Cup nor offer any financial help or logistic assistance to us even in Russia.
” It was the magnanimity of few Nigerians such as Chief Mike Adenuga who donated N100,000 000, Rev Mother Ajayi that gave us N 20, 000 000 and the N10 000 000 we got from the Lagos State Government that made our trip possible while the NFF did nothing”, he lamented, insisting that administrative lapses and lack of sound technical knowledge caused the early exit of the Super Eagles from the Mundial.
The President General while commending the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for brokering peace in the club appealed to the ambassador to use his good offices and appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure Nigerian football because it is sports that binds the cultural and ethnic diverse country together.
In his response, the ambassador praised the club for being good cultural ambassadors of the country.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the way NFF handled the issue of tickets which led to the embassy staff sourcing their tickets through the black market, advising that such abnormally should not be allowed to happen again.