The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has thrown more light on the argument over the Super Eagles’ bonus, which reportedly erupted after the 1-0 win over Harambee Stars of Kenya in Nairobi last Wednesday.
Players of the senior national team reportedly refused to accept the $5,000 offered to them by the federation, requesting for the former $10,000 winning bonus.
A member of the NFF Executive Committee has come out to say that the players did not reject the money but only wanted the federation to allow them have some ‘consultations amongst themselves’ and mull over certain issues.
“This issue will create no problems as the boys are all professionals. Let me also state here that the boys never said they will not accept the $5,000 we offered,” an anonymous executive member of the NFF told supersport.com.
“They only said they needed to carry out consultations amongst themselves. The consultations will involve even the players who are not in Windhoek at present so it may take a while.
“I want to commend (Stephen) Keshi and (Daniel) Amokachi for stepping in and appealing to the players to accept the money,” the source further added.
The NFF committee member however justified the slashing of the players’ winning bonuses, claiming the federation has a cogent reason for doing that.
“We have explained severally that the NFF is struggling in the aspect of funds. We reduced the number of members of the backroom staff for this reason.
“The NFF is passing through a lot of difficulty and we only receive N1.5 billion annually from the government to prosecute all our programmes,” he added.
“We don’t take care of just matters relating to the Super Eagles. We have the senior women’s team and the other age grade teams who play in continental and global championships. There is also the Beach Eagles and other programmes too.”
Whether the winning bonus disenfranchisement will become an issue for Nigeria’s World Cup qualification we are yet to see, but the member also urges the players to be patriotic and put the nation first in their assignment.
“The national team should never be all about money but patriotism, honour and joy to represent the national team.
“I still recall vividly those players of South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the 2013 AFCON said they would not receive any dime as bonuses until after they qualified for the quarter-finals. The Kenya team we defeated on Wednesday; their players are paid just $500 for a win so I do not think the NFF is doing too badly in this regards,” the NFF member said.
The Super Eagles will face Namibia in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Windhoek on Wednesday. Victory in that match places Nigeria in firm control of Group F heading into the final game against Malawi in Abuja in September.