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How to spend N800m in one week

By Paul Bassey
I still belong to the old school, one that believes patriotism still has a meaning.

I have not changed my mind from the belief that money as an incentive can be counter-productive. That you do not need to pay NIGERIANS $10,000 US (N1.5m) each to beat Tunisia AT HOME for a World Cup QUALIFYING MATCH.
I hold dear to the principles of hard work, dedication, commitment, attitude and discipline.

I will also be the first person to admit failure when capability does not meet expectations. I told Waidi Akanni, Ikeddy Isiguzo, Mitchel Obi and Nneka Anibeze last weekend that even if I am given N1bn, I do not see myself doing a 100metres dash in 12 secs.

In fact, Ikeddy warned that should I attempt to lace my system with a drum full of drugs for the purpose, I will just collapse and die!

In other words, let us be very mindful of the limits of our boys and treat them accordingly, before we push them to their death.

By now, readers would have guessed and rightly too that I am reacting to the N800 million raised by the Presidential Task Force for Nigeria’s qualification for the 2010 World Cup.

At this stage, since there is virtually nothing I can do about a money that will not be refunded, I want to be patriotic enough to suggest how this money should be used “judiciously to achieve set goals”.

1.           Bonuses and Allowances – N120m
2.           Return Tickets – N30m
3.           Board & Lodging – N50m
4.           PTF – N40m

5.           Tactical (Foreign) – $60,000
6.           Tactical (Local) – N25m
7.           Stadium Hire & Cleaning – N5m

8.           Publicity – N20m
9.           Awareness – N30m
10.                Technical – N20m
11.                Protocol – N20m
12.                Security – N30m
13.                Transportation – N20m

14.                Documentation – N5m
15.                Accommodation – N20m
16.                Medical – N30m
17.                Ticketing – N10m
18.                Hospitality – N20m
19.                T-Shirts, Flags, Banners – N42m

At first glance, the above stated sums may appear bogus, hence this attempt at clarifying the sub-heads above mentioned.

1.   Bonuses and Allowances – This is a no-go area. In fact you may have to pay this money in advance for players to know how serious you are. If, for whatever reason, things are not going too well at half time, it is from this budget that members of the PTF are expected to draw from when they run into the dressing room to increase the bonus from $10,000 to $20,000 each.

And the moment they do that, don’t forget that coaches and other officials get double.
2.   Return Tickets- Because of the sensitive nature of this match, it is recommended that the players should jet in on first class and given our Mali Nations Cup experience the refunds should be effected at the airport, the moment they land.

3.   Board and Lodging- Again this is a delicate area as they must all be lodged at Hilton, a room each to avoid distractions, while food and drinks are unlimited and without restrictions.

4.   PTF – Please, let us not lose sight of the fact that it is the PTF that raised the funds and all attempts to deny them will be resisted. Since this is a home match, there will be no need to hire a plane. Rather, members will meet at least twice before the match and then two days after, they are expected to brainstorm on the way forward. This amount is to take care of transportation, accommodation, transportation and sitting allowances.

5.   Tactical (Foreign) – You will notice that I have budgeted here in dollars. It is to be paid to foreigners. Full stop.
6.   Tactical (Local) – In the past, we have never toyed with the need to offer spiritual backup to our on-the-field efforts.
The NFF will not be accused of neglecting any state of the federation, so chief priests and reverend gentlemen (pastors, etc) are summoned from each of the states for prayers and incantations.

In the case of rain doctors, Edo and Delta are given priority to display and each rain doctor charges between N2m-N3m naira (these are special specie from oil producing states.)

7.  Stadium Hire and Cleaning – The stadium, we should not forget, does not belong to the NFF or the PTF. For a match of this calibre, the stadium has to be cleaned and vacuumed before and after the match (especially after). Diesel must be purchased (NEPA is on standby) and stadium staff paid.

8. Publicity – A week to kick off, all media, print and electronic, must be utilized to sensitize Nigerians, and they will have to do it so well that those in Sokoto, Maiduguri, Calabar and Port Harcourt will be galvanized into paying their way to Abuja to watch the match.

Also, some key editors will have to be transported to Abuja, accommodated and mobilized for “effective” coverage, added to payment for jingles and adverts on radio and TV.

9.  Awareness – Aha! This is a sub-head that is best handled by the Supporters Club. If need be, they can “dress naked” while parading streets of the federal capital in floats. Old musical instruments have to be replaced.

10. Technical – This area, like security votes given to governors, are never explained or retired. Just allocate the money and go to sleep. When you wake up, the field would have been cut, watered and lined, corner flags installed, ready for kick off.

11. Protocol – As the name implies, labelling the seats, making sure that the VIP seat is reserved, even if he comes late, and to advise President Yar’Adua against coming to the stadium before press boys accuse him and say it was because of him that we……..

12. Security – The embarrassment and fiasco of the last match will be avoided by adequate injection of funds. Besides, how many Nigerians know that when FIFA people came calling last time around, white men were recruited to guard them?

I have an unconfirmed report that Jack Warner was not too happy and said next time he came, he will insist on a Nigerian protecting him.

For this match, we cannot afford to take chances, so we will still hire some white men. Then the Police, Air Force, Army, mounted troops all, must be engaged.

From this budget, local security will be contracted. These are the people to guard the stadium overnight from now on, to prevent Tunisians and their agents from penetrating the venue at night for the purpose of burying fetish concoctions in the field, etc.

13. Transportation – Car hire, fuelling (before you get confused here, some of us can afford to fuel our cars for N800 at a time different from the system in such assignments where full tanks of the hired jeeps go for N8,000 a day). Buses for the team, vehicles for referees and officials, various committees, and so on.

14. Documentation – As the name suggests, putting documents together, records of proceedings, minutes of the match (?), …………….

15. Accommodation – Different from the team. Boarding and lodging of match officials, invited guests, senators, house of representative members, state FA chairmen and their secretaries, NFF board members and NFF staff who may work too late to be able to go home.

16. Medical – The Okwaraji incident will never repeat itself. About five ambulances to be stationed within and outside the stadium premises. Fifty first aid posts to be established and manned, while over 500 doctors will be recruited to seat among the spectators to quickly attend to those who are likely to faint, for whatever reason.

17. Ticketing – Because this is a must watch match, Nigerians waiting to counterfeit and forge the tickets have another thing coming as the tickets will be printed in South Africa and flown in less than twenty four hours to kick off amid armed security.

18. Hospitality – Caring for sponsors, partners, players’ relatives and friends of football.
19. Miscellaneous – Matters unforeseen.

At this stage I am not eager to add up the total cost, because as they are wont to tell us, no amount is too much to get those vital three points that will catapult us to the leadership of the group (by one point) and set us on the way to the priceless qualification for South Africa 2010. Should we need more money, the PTF has the mandate of Mr. President to organise another fund-raising before the next match on October 11.

A Governor and a wrestling farce

I read the stories and did not give so much thought to them. It was only when I saw the visuals of a governor (South East) taken for a ride in the name of an international wrestling championship, that I knew we still have a long way to go in this country.

That a busy(?) governor could be taken from his duty post to a training gym abroad, where a fake international title bout was arranged under the presence of less than 40 people, beats my imagination.

And to think that the governor (who must have sunk in a lot of money) did not smell a rat when he got into that local gym, baffles me. Add to that the manner he was screaming hysterically as the farce was going on…… Nigeria our Nigeria…..

Re – Berlin as metaphor  Pauloooo,

Thanks for all your juicy contributions. I enjoy them and the readers do too.  Read your metaphor. The standards here marvelled our people. They were higher than what they saw at the Olympics. It appears that the world has left us.

If you interact with athletes and officials from other countries, you will appreciate the fact that the world has left us. Their programmes, the support from government before sponsorship comes in, their professionalism, research etc; everything points to the fact that we don’t belong.

Did you observe anything each time Usain Bolt wanted to run? While other athletes would be warming up, his would be just to go through a round of massage. He would simply lie down and they would be massaging him. I wouldn’t know if the TV cameras picked that aspect for you guys at home. I tried to find out and they said massaging is a new form of biomedics which the Jamaicans have introduced and which is alien to even USA.

That’s partly why Bolt with all his bullet runs does not display muscles like the likes of Maurice Green.
Bolt is not muscular and he ran 9.58 after jogging in the semi-final and still ran sub 10 seconds. He does not put up so much muscles and yet he ran 200m with almost the same speed with which he did his 9.58 secs in 100m. He ran 19.19 and if you divide it by two it comes to about 9.59 secs.

Is he human?

This remains the new biomedics and not some king of Agbo concotion that science has not detected. But there must be something unique about their new approach in training.

You look at the Jamaican girls; they are so athletic and still fine — fine legs and fine skin. They are just beautiful even under the stress of competition. Lee Evans just told Ogba that his son has gone to Jamaica to study this new way of enhancing performance by working on the body, the muscles and other areas that can naturally boost an athlete’s work rate… Wahala dey for our backward country O!

Again, the Jamaicans have so developed infrastructure and their school system that they no longer go to USA. They stay at home. Their athletes enjoy scholarships at home where physical education is now compulsory as a subject from primary to secondary school levels. Wahala dey-OO!

There are many things that make me not agree with Ogba that we need 10 years to get to where USA and Jamaica are. You know, Solo was just being careful. He was choosing his words. It was just another way of saying Nigeria is 10 years behind the world in sports.

But that is conservative. I think that we are 20 years behind and our generation is done, done for good, as far as sports is concerned. Let us hope that the generation of our children can do something if we check the slide as Solo hopes. But with the Nigeria I know, I have my fears. The Lord’s Prayer, please.
— Onochie Anibeze in Berlin

Sir, your piece, Berlin as metaphor was very touching and instructive. Even if the athletics team had won medals in Berlin, the drug case was a great smear that we should not just dismiss light-heartedly.
Also, let other sports associations take note. The moral decadence that has set into our society is responsible for what we are witnessing today, surprisingly with the connivance of adults.

Those responsible should be investigated and if found guilty, punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
Bosun Akinyele

The funny side of life
I dedicate this segment this week to Ikeddy Isiguzo, Chairman, Editorial board of the Vanguard.
During a meeting of the AIT Football Award committee, we ran into a brick wall concerning who should qualify as “Junior Footballer of the Year”.

Ikeddy advised that we should tread carefully because in the past, there was a reported case of a popular U-17 footballer who had “two children from three women”.
How come? Please ask Ikeddy.

See you next week.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.