Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has described the allegation of bribery for slots in national team Super Eagles as a global embarrassment to the country, revealing that it is awaiting formal complaints and a petition from the players who made the allegations.
Several retired Super Eagles players, including Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke and Brown Ideye, had recently raised allegations about how certain persons in the Eagles’ coaching crew and the NFF had demanded bribes before they could be included in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final team list.
Reacting to the allegations, the General Secretary of the NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanisu, told SportingSun at the new NFF secretariat in Abuja, the Sunday Dankaro House, that the allegation tarnishes Nigeria’s image globally.
He further noted that the NFF’s board has the sole authority to decide the next line of action over the complaints, adding that the secretariat is, however, waiting for an official petition from the ex-internationals to decide on the next line of action.
Equally troubling, he said, was that the allegations implicated dead officials.
‘I can tell you that I am not happy over the allegation for two reasons. Firstly, they failed to talk when they were approached in the past and, again, it is painful that some of these accusations are directed at people that are no longer alive,’ the NFF scribe said.
‘Why did they not make the allegations when those people were still alive? The ugliest side of the allegation is that they have given the country a bad name.
‘I am not saying that it is not their right to expose incidents if they actually happened; but my concern is that they should [have] been civilised in the way they went about it. They should not forget that there are proper channels of addressing such issues. I have not seen anybody who brought the issue of such magnitude before the federation and we fail to take action.
‘Avenues have also been created in the past to handle such issues, but it is unfortunate that the players went public instead of exploring that window. Why did they decide to go public just to get cheap popularity? They forgot that they are tarnishing the image of the country,’ he fumed.
On whether the NFF will take any action against the players that made the allegation, Dr Sanusi said: ‘I won’t confirm to you authoritatively whether the federation will set up a committee to look into it for now because I am only an implementer of what the board of the federation directed.
‘Again, and more importantly, the federation needs something more concrete to work with instead of relying on allegations made in the media. If any of them had written to complain, we will definitely take it up.
‘There must be an official complaint before the federation can act. I will be very happy to receive an official complaint instead of the information on the media. Going public does not speak well of those aggrieved, it rather tarnishes the image of the country,’ he said.