By Onochie Anibeze
Nigeriaâ€™sÂ sports min-ister, Ibrahim Isa Bio, would, today, go on record as having impressed Nigerians for picking holes in the accommodation plans for Nigeriaâ€™s Eagles during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Through his expressionÂ yesterday in Johannesburg, heÂ thumbed down for whoever passed the Hampshire Hotel as Eaglesâ€™ base for the 2010 World Cup.
That would earn him some kudos from Nigerians who have been expressing concern over the state of the hotel whichÂ has attracted more controversies than accolades that any hotel playing host to any World Cup team deserves.Â But Bio and his delegation also surprised onlookers and other South Africans who described his large delega-
tion as â€œhuge.â€
â€œThe ministerâ€™s delegation is huge. I just left them now and the number is huge. They were more than 20 people around him. It is possible some of them are South Africans but Nigerians were many,â€ our South African contact said yesterday, adding â€œthe minister was not satisfied with the atmosphere at Hampshire Hotel which had been taken by Nigeria and duly communicated to FIFA.â€
Hampshire Hotel is a new hotel which was still being painted.
The hotel lacks the standard security required of a hotel that will accommodate a World Cup team. It is located in a open place, without proper fencing.
The room rate was said to have shot up from $300 a night to $500 when Nigeria booked the place.
Nigeria Football Federation President, Sani Lulu, had said that his federation had not paid the hotel and thatÂ they wanted to ensure that the hotel met all their conditions before they would finally settle for the place.
One of the conditions was fencing the hotel well enough to make for adequate security.
â€œOnly a small fence has been done,â€ said our source yesterday. This probably led to the disappointment of the Nigerian delegation which later moved to Zimbali Lodge to inspect the place and see if Nigeria could switch to the place. Zimbali is a five-star hotel that attracts $800 a night for a room.
â€œThe Nigerian delegation planned to visit two more hotels yesterday,â€ said our source.
The minister and some of his aides, the federation president and some of his members and Director-General of the National Sports Commission Patrick Ekeji and his team were in the large Nigerian delegation that went just to inspect the hotel Eagles will stay in South Africa. WONDERS. Imagine what the Nigerian delegation would be like in the World Cup proper. Nigeria is expecting the Eagles to reach the semi-finals in the World Cup. WONDERS.