Nothing wrong with eagles travelling to Benin by boat – Pinnick

Nothing wrong with eagles travelling to Benin by boat – Pinnick
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President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick says there is no big deal in the country’s super eagles travelling to neighbouring Benin Republic for an African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.

The Eagles are expected to depart Lagos on March 25 for Benin with coach Gernot Rohr disclosing they will most likely cross the border by boat so as to avoid the bad roads linking both countries.While some of the players likely to be on the trip have expressed concerns, the country’s football federation boss Pinnick says there is no big deal in the players travelling to Benin by boat.

He stated this on Wednesday when he featured on an ARISE News programme, The Morning Show but also noted that the federation is yet to conclude on the means of moving to the neighbouring Benin Republic for the encounter.

“Going to Cotonou by boat, I do that all the time. When we were going to inspect we did it. There is nothing wrong with exploring other forms of adventure in Nigeria,” Pinnick told ARISE News.

“What’s the big deal, look at the Lagos state boat terminal, it’s one of the best in the world I have seen, so why don’t we use all those things if we have them.

“So it’s just a projection and it does not mean we have agreed on it. We might either go by road if our security report, we have the intelligence, we are also working with the Lagos state government to explore to see what is best suited for that.

“And once we say we are going by the creeks to Cotonou, of course, we will provide every requisite, we will provide the enabling environment for them to go in terms of security.”

The NFF president also said the country’s football is between 60 to 70 per cent self-sustaining as his administration has been able to divest the NFF of the government’s subvention.

Mr Pinnick said the coronavirus had halted progress in the country’s football but told ARISE News that the federation is ensuring at getting more sponsors to add to the existing sponsors.

“We are still between 60 to 70 per cent (of being self-sustaining) as contained in our last audited report which was published in most newspapers, it’s also on the FIFA website,” Pinnick said.

“Last year, the Covid pandemic affected a lot that we did and this year we are coming back, at least some of our sponsors are coming back and we have some new sponsors.

“So we are looking at within the next two years before the end of my tenure we would have gotten to that promised land of a 100 per cent self-sustaining, and of course with the coming of Motsepe, (Patrice Motsepe is a South African billionaire who wants the top job in African soccer) one of his goals is to make sure that every member nation achieves 100 per cent self-sustaining in terms of funding and that is what we are looking at.

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