NFF crisis not helpful to Nigeria’s Rio Olympic plans

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The Chief Executive Officer of HotSports Group, Taye Ige, spoke to The PUNCH concerning the Rio Olympics and the current NFF crisis

How has the preparation been for the Rio Olympics? Given your experience of the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup, how has the interest of Nigerians been so far?

 To say the least, the preparation has been chaotic.  With the sports ministry that is saddled with the responsibility of preparing our athletes completely engrossed with NFF’s dog-fight, federations are on their own as far as preparations are concerned.  Again, with the DG – Alhaji (Al-Hassan) Yakmut, who was directly in-charge in 2012 removed, a vacuum seems to have been created.

We are going down the same lane we have travelled over the decades preparing for the Olympics. The lackadaisical style in our preparations is also affecting the interests of Nigerians. It is quite a challenge marketing the games. We do hope that as the Games draw closer, more people will show interest about being in Rio de Janeiro for the event.

But it does also look like the downturn of the Naira could affect the plans of Nigerians desirous of watching the Games.

It does seem so, unfortunately.  With a US dollar exchanging for as much as N300, only the very few can afford to go to Brazil to watch the Games.  Equally the World Cup experience has shown that Brazil is very expensive. But we still some period left before the games commences; we are hoping that there could be some improvement in the economy and that interest of Nigerians would also increase.

 Is there anything special you marketers are offering to encourage fans and make Rio de Janeiro quite memorable for them?

This depends on individual marketer and the purpose such marketer intends to achieve.  There could be promos (predict and win) and gift items. For those who are hooked on to HotSports, we are offering them packages that will bring the events and athletes quite close to them. We have announced some and we hope to add a lot more.

Football is always the biggest selling point for Nigeria for events like this…how worried are you that the current Nigeria Football Federation crisis can force FIFA to ban Nigeria and thereby removing the U23 Eagles from Rio.

 Everybody is worried about the current situation at football federation.  As marketers, football administrators, sportswriters and even fans, we all stand to lose a lot should FIFA ban Nigeria.  At the moment, Nigeria has budding players coming through the ranks that could make impact in Rio.  But all that will be scuttled if FIFA sanctions Nigeria. The loss will cut across, definitely. For the media, I can imagine the volume of adverts and endorsements that could be lost. Since the Dream Team that paraded the likes of Kanu and Austin Okocha won the 1996 Olypic gold Nigerians have always desired to watch the soccer team at the Olympics. I still remember how keenly they followed Beijing 2008 and so I hope that the NFF issues are sorted out quickly.

 I believe beyond the Olympics such rancour have not help Nigeria get the real value of the national football teams.

Very true even though some believe Nigerian teams perform better in crisis.  As a result of the rancour, teams prepare for competitions haphazardly; there is distraction and loss of focus by coaches and players. The true value of the Super Eagles can better be gauged when there’s absolute peace and tranquilly in the FA. For now corporate bodies pick interest but then walk away before much can be achieved because of constant bickering.

Basketball is also huge for Nigeria as it was in London 2012 with the NBA line up for D’Tigers…What are you doing in that direction?

We work solely to meet the demands of our clients. We are not just going to serve them in one direction. We know Nigerians love football, athletics and basketball and we are mindful of that. And with the Tigers arriving in Rio as African champions, I believe the impact will be quite huge.

 What are your expectations from Team Nigeria? Any medals hope?

It is difficult to predict given the prevailing situation and the fact also that some qualifiers are still ongoing. But so far it’s not quite encouraging. Athletes would need to go extra miles by themselves if they really want to win medals

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Contact: editor@punchng.com


Source: Punch News

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FridayPosts
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Fridayposts Contributors scans through the news world to find relevant news updates for your information anywhere, everytime.

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NFF crisis not helpful to Nigeria’s Rio Olympic plans

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