The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday gave detailed explanation of how it arrived at approving the now â€“dumped Hampshire Hotel, Ballito as the Super Eaglesâ€™ World Cup Team Base Camp.
General Secretary, Dr. Bolaji Ojo_Oba insisted that the decision was taken in the best interest, to satisfy the Head Coach and also based on experience at a previous tournament.
â€œIt is unfortunate that the whole thing is now being made to look like the NFF had any motive other than the teamâ€™s best interest.Â We believed, and still believe, that the Head Coach is best â€“placed to determine the best possible site for his team to train or use as abode for a tournament, and in this case, at the time we were looking for a Team Base Camp in December 2009, that Head Coach was Shaibu Amodu.
â€œReally, we gave him a mandate to look out for somewhere good enough for the team and which cost would not be exactly on the steep side, fully aware of our financial situation. He went in search of this place with Mr. Peterside Idah, a former Nigerian international player who is also a member of the teamâ€™s technical crew and who lives in South Africa . We expected them to be capable of choosing a place good enough, at considerable prize.
â€œIn the end, they found this Hampshire Hotel, new structure, with a firm pledge by the hotel Management that they would be able to finish everything with two months left to the World Cup and also meet our other specifications. We sent other officials there and the hotel Management confirmed the same thing. And it was on this basis that we approached FIFA to approve the place for us since our Head Coach wanted the place.”
â€œI had before now given the instance of the place where our team stayed at the 1994 World Cup in the United States , which was quite big and had enough room for distractions and trouble â€“makers. Most of the players blamed the hotelâ€™s distractions for the loss to Italy in the Round of 16.
â€œThere were no shady deals, and we challenge anyone to fully investigate the matter. All we wanted, all the Head Coach wanted, was a quiet place that would suit the team. At the time we were looking for a place in December 2009, no one knew Shaibu Amodu would not be the man to lead the team to the World Cup. Things only happened thereafter.
â€œAlso at that time, the hype about security issues was not so pronounced. The Hampshire Hotel management promised to do the fence by April 28 but they failed, and now gave us a new date of May 6, which we rejected.
â€œThe Protea Hotel Waterfront was always on our cards, moreso because we had booked the place as pre â€“World Cup training camp. It did not drop from the sky. We have booked the place earlier, and we always made it clear to Hampshire Hotel people that we would opt out if they failed to meet our specifications by deadline day.
â€œWhatever we did was in consideration of the best interest of the team. We always had a second option, which we have now fallen back onâ€