The Nigeria Football Federation has denied hijacking 200,000 dollars present given to the Dream Team by Japanese plastic surgeon, Dr. Katsuya Takasu in the name of coach Samson Siasia and John Obi Mikel.
Before the third place match against Honduras, the former Super Eagles goalkeeper Idah Peterside in a tweet had alleged that the money was being hijacked. But Mikel and Siasia had received the cheque after the game they won 3-2.
But the NFF was quick to deny the allegation.
“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.”
Pinnick added that the status of Nigeria as a sovereign nation, and the integrity of Nigeria football, is bigger than such financial gains. “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.
“There are matters in the football world today that FIFA and the various confederations frown at. We are very much aware of that”.