The social media went agog before yesterday’s bronze medal match as promised cash donation to the Dream Team VI by wealthy Japanese philanthropist was said to have been hijacked by Nigeria Football Federation.
Prior before the third place match between Nigeria’s Dream Team and Honduras, which Nigeria won and claimed the bronze medal, there were stories circulating on social media that the NFF had hijacked the donation from a Japanese Plastic surgeon, Dr. Katsuya Takasu who promised the Team a cash prize if they go on to clinch any medal (Gold, Silver or Bronze) at the Men’s football event of the Rio Olympics.
However, the Nation’s football body has come out to debunk such claims, in a statement issued on their website, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick said: “His message was a lie, an atrocious false alarm before an important match. I had exchanged correspondence with the Honourable Minister on the issue of the donation and we agreed that there was need for caution. The Minister said to me that he read the donation in the papers and had expressed serious concern. I also received a mail from the NFF Integrity Officer who expressed very serious concern with this kind of donation.
“I got in touch with the Ambassador of Nigeria to Brazil and the Honourable Minister to say that whatever had to be done should be done after the Bronze Medal Match, to avoid any distractions. The NFF may be having financial challenges, but I assure you nobody in the Federation is interested in that money.
“If we get the Government’s go-ahead to collect the money, no official of the NFF will be involved even in the collection. The money will be received directly by the team.
“There are matters in the football world today that FIFA and the various confederations frown at. We are very much aware of that”.
If we had rushed to collect that kind of money and hand over to the players, the same people who are condemning the NFF now would have said worse things.
Although, it remains unclear whether former goalkeeper Peterside Idah who started the discussion on social media will provide proves to substantiate his controversial claims.