Goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke of Giwa FC trying to catch the ball during a recent NPFL game against Sunshine Stars of Akure. The LMC says the league will continue despite a Jos High Court ruling halting the competition. PHOTO: LMC
Era of NFF depending on government for funds will be over soon, says Carena
A foreign investor based in the United Kingdom is set to inject a huge sum of $1.5 billion into Nigerian football. The plan, which is said to have the backing of the federal government, will take effect in the next 18 months. It is being packaged by Arabella 21st Century, in partnership with UK-based Aurora Sports and Entertainment.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos yesterday, Chief Executive Officer of Arabella 21st Century, Femi Carena said the move, if well managed by Nigerians, would not only put the nation’s football among the billion dollars investment group like others in the world, but also put an end to the era of sports administrators running cap in hand to the Presidency for funds to run the various national teams.
According to Carena, a one-time Special Adviser to former Secretary General of the NFF, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, an international conference to unveil the foreign investors will hold on March 8-9, 2017. “The conference will be addressed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange and top officials of the English Premier League. We also in talk with world football legend, Pele, and he has agreed to be part of the ceremony.”
Carena hinted that Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung has given the go-ahead for the investors to come into the nation’s football, adding that both the NFF and LMC have also been briefed.
“Both the NFF and LMC can’t guarantee the investors. The Sports Minister is the eye of the Federal Government, and he has done what is expected of him. We are bringing money for the NFF and LMC. The minister has already issued a release concerning this plan. We are also in torch with the league board, Shehu Dikko and Nduka Irabor. Understanding the politics of this country, I don’t need to see the NFF or the LMC because the project would die on arrival. It is purely the job of the sports minister and we are on the right track. We are not coming into Nigerian football to change the status of FIFA or CAF. If all Nigerians rally round this big project, our football will never remain the same. The international conference holding in March 2017 has officials of the NFF and LMC in its planning committee,” Carena stated.
Also speaking yesterday, a representative of the broadcast partner in the United Kingdom, Babatunde Ayinor and a directors in Arabella 21st Century, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, urged Nigerians to embrace the plan for the good of the nation’s football.