President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, says the national soccer governing body will achieve 100 percent self-sufficiency funding model during his tenure.
Pinnick said this on Thursday in Lagos at the formal signing of global telco giant, MTN, as the official communication partner of the Super Eagles and other national teams.
The NFF president said that the partnership was worth N500 million.
The ceremony took place at the Marriott Hotels, Ikeja, which had in attendance MTN top echelons, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, as well as football stakeholders.
“At the end of my tenure, I want to see Nigerian football 100 percent self-funding without involving government, of course, we thank the government for the past support.
“I can say now that NFF that did start off from point zero has attained 85 percent of self-funding as at the signing of this partnership,” he said.
Pinnick said that making the NFF self-sufficient would attract respect and put the Nigerian football model in the right perspective globally.
“This is the only way and means to gain respect globally, continentally, and nationally. So, I want to thank the Minister of Sports because his impact is very encouraging,” he said.
Pinnick said that the signing of the N500 million partnership was in tandem with the drive of the football ruling house to attain a self-sufficiency funding model for football development in Nigeria.
“We are excited with our partnership with MTN because it is something that has been going on for a very long time.
“We believe that in carrying out our culture of football development, we need a brand that has stood the test of time, the one that has gone through the thick of Nigeria system and that brand is MTN.
“We consider this partnership as a great privilege because MTN is a dependable brand,” Pinnick said
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for creating an enabling environment for Nigeria football to thrive on a journey to prosperity.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Dare, in his address, commended the partnership, adding that it was in tandem with the pursuit of his policy of giving the sport a business model.
“The first thing of note is that this partnership is the first bold step in the direction that we intend to take Nigerian sports to.
“In the last 18 months, we have been working to initiate a business model into Nigerian sports.
“This country is about 15 to 20 years late in achieving this business model because football has remained a recreation and the entire spectrum of Nigerian sports and not a business.
“The policy to redirect the sports administration is in the last stage of the final draft at the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and as soon as it is complete we will have the policy.
“The MTN and NFF partnership have already given life to that policy because that is what we want to see; we want our sports federations to be self-funding and this has been the sermon that I have been preaching,” the minister said.
MTN Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, noted that the telco giant had been at the forefront of supporting the Nigerian cause, adding that football as the most followed sport globally was not an exception.
“Right from the start of our operations in Nigeria in 2001, we have always connected with good cause. It is on having to invest in platforms that unites the nation and there is no greater platform than football.
“We have a favourite slogan in MTN and this is “Nigeria, where football lives” and we have demonstrated this by supporting football and its development.
“We have supported from the highest international level to national competitions so as to take initiatives that add values to us. We have also supported other causes in football development.
“We are passionate about football and we take it seriously that millions of Nigerians have passion for this great sport, so we as organization look beyond challenges to opportunities and promises,” he said.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Chairman of MTN board, Ernest Ndukwe, NFF Second Vice President, Shehu Dikko, and Special Adviser to the President on Sports, Daniel Amokachi.
Also present were NFF Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, selected Super Eagles players, including Captain Ahmed Musa, Williams Troost-Ekong, Victor Osimhen, and Wilfred Ndidi, among others.