Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said that it would not hesitate to drag any European or other foreign club to Zurich, the secretariat of the world football governing body, FIFA, should any of them fail to release Nigerian players invited to prosecute the South Africa 2013 Cup of Nations two weeks to the tournament.
The General Secretary of the federation, Barrister Musa Amadu, who gave warning, however, assured that there was no reason to entertain any fear over the release of the foreign-based Super Eagles players.
He insisted that the tournament is entreached in the football calendar of both the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) and FIFA.
His words: “There won’t be any problem with regard to the release of players for the African Cup of Nations because the competition is recognised by both CAF and FIFA. AFCON is entreached in both CAF and FIFA football calendar for the year 2013 season. Let us not also forget that AFCON is a very big tournament. In fact, it is the biggest football fiesta in the continent of Africa.
“Obviously, since it is the biggest tournament, the foreign clubs are obliged to release players two weeks (14 days) to the competition. So, expectedly, by January 4, 2013, we expect the foreign-based players to report at the team’s camp in Faro, Portugal, otherwise we will employ sanctions on the players and clubs involved,” Barrister Musa Amadu warned.
Asked how ready is Nigeria, NFF and the players for the tournament, the federation’s chief scribe explained: “The preprations are in top gear. In the next one week, the camping will resume in Abuja. They will train and leave Nigeria 10 days afterwards to Faro in Portugal."
They would travel to Barcelona in Spain, precisely on January 1 to play the Catanonia selected side on January 2, 2013. They will return to Portugal the next day.
Hopefully, the foreign-based players would be reporting to camp on January 4. The team will be in Faro preparing for the tournament, playing some friendly matches until January 9 when some players would be retained and decamped.
"By the programme of events, the team would expectly leave Portugal for South Africa on January 16 before our first game against Burkina Faso,” he added.