The Former president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Sani Lulu Abdullahi, has called for full-scale investigation into claims by a convicted match-fixer that he aided Nigeria’s qualification for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Lulu’s administration was in charge during the Super Eagles’ qualification for the first World Cup on African soil.
Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean who lately got released from prison for match-fixing charges, wrote in his book that he assisted the current African champions reach South Africa 2010 by inducing the Mozambican national team to stop Tunisia from winning in Maputo.
The Mambas did one better by defeating the Carthage Eagles 1-0 as Nigeria rallied to a hard fought 3-2 victory over Kenya in Nairobi.
Perumal also said, as part of the deal, it was agreed for him to organise the Super Eagles’ three warm up matches ahead of the tournament.
In a statement issued by the NFF on Tuesday, Perumal’s allegations in the book Kelong Kings were termed as hogwash” and an attempt to undermine the hard work of the “true heroes” of Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup.
Despite the dismissal of the allegations, Lulu has alleged it is an attempt to cast aspersion on his leadership of the organisation.
“I was in charge of the Federation and directly supervised the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2010 World Cup. I have never met, let alone of know, that man and I had nothing to do with match-fixing,” Lulu said.
“I want the NFF to immediately commence investigations into the serious allegations.
“This is not good for the image of the country and the football federation needs strong response. We have all activities of the Super Eagles qualification for the 2010 World Cup on record,” he said.
Lulu, who claimed that some group of persons are out for mischief, asked why the match-fixing allegations were coming four years after the 2010 World Cup and less than four months to the NFF elections in August which he intends to contest.
He is also suspicious that members of the Task Force set up to ensure the country’s qualification for the tournament could have had something to do with the allegations.
“I would like the NFF to try to find out if anybody in the name of Presidential Task Force engaged in such a criminal act without my knowledge. I think it’s a deliberate attempt by some persons to undermine my achievements in office,” he said.
“It is also curious that this is coming at a time that elections into the board of the NFF are around the corner. I feel this is an attempt to undermine the credibility and integrity of some people who are seen as potential threats in the forthcoming elections,” he concluded.
Latest reports indicate that Fifa has launched an investigation into the allegations.
The Super Eagles are currently preparing for Brazil 2014 where they are drawn with Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F.