Eaglets play without support

Friday 23 October 2015

/ by Colin Udoh
Rafiu Ladipo, President-General, Nigeria Football Supporters Club

There were only 4 Nigerians at the stadium on Tuesday night when Nigeria's Golden Eaglets took on and obliterated hosts Chile 5-1 at the 2015 FIFA Under 17 World Cup.

Of the four, three were reporters from the state-owned Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) led by Abdulrahman Ibn Mohammed.

Conspicuous by their absence are the Nigeria Football Supporters club led by their President-General, Rafiu Ladipo.

The group, usually ever present whenever Nigerian national teams play, have not made it to Chile.

Ladipo says funding is the major reason
"It's a shame that we are not there, but it's because we have been unable to raise money to travel to Chile," he told ahead of the Golden Eaglets final group game against Croatia.
"Nobody has come out to support us with sponsorship."

Ladipo went on to outline the challenges involved in financing support for the national teams
"It is not easy getting money for all these trips. Most times, I use money from my personal business to fund these trips, but people don't know.

"Other times, I use my personal relationship with people like Mike Adenuga to get sponsorship."
Ladipo's next statement suggested that all is not well with the body
"For our trip to Brazil for the World Cup, we raised money from Glo, some from the Federal Government and others, and I also added some of my own personal money. But some people came back and said I ate their money.
"Now, I haven't raised any money and there is nobody in Chile."

He did promise to get some of the group to Chile, but one one condition
"If the boys can get to the semifinals, I will arrange for a few of us to go there and support them. Right now, I'm making arrangements for about 10 to 15 people to go to Burkina Faso to support the CHAN team."

As for the Golden Eaglets, they will have to play without fans. Again.

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