Emmanuel Emenike saved Nigeria another horrible bonus row saga when he wholeheartedly accepted the $5,000 winning bonus offered by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) amidst an impending revolt, which luckily never unfolded.
The 26-year-old Fenerbahce striker, who slotted home Nigeria’s opening goal in the 2-0 win over Malawi at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar, on Saturday, reportedly declared after the match that playing for the national team was enough motivation, regardless of the monetary inducement.
According to the Vanguard, a key player had said “we will not collect $5,000. Our money should be $10, 000,” when the bonus was offered after the victory.
The hysteria that was about to unravel with such unpatriotic declaration was further intensified when one of the coaches, who was expected to swiftly intervene, opted out of the issue.
It took Emenike’s gesture for another match pay saga to be aborted as the striker urged the federation to quickly offer him whatever they have as bonus, collected the money and said playing for the national team was a great honour which all reasonable player must appreciate.
Liverpool FC forward, Victor Moses, followed suit as his patriotic action began to impact a sort of domino effect on the rest of the squad, including the player who had earlier rejected the offer.
At this point, the coach, who had earlier opted out of the matter, called a top official of the federation to announce that “the players have now agreed to take the money.”
“Emenike save us another bonus row. He is a great patriot,” a top official of the NFF disclosed to reporters.
“After a key player rejected our bonus and said the whole team had decided not to collect it, Emenike said that such will not happen with him and that playing for Nigeria was an honour greater than money.
“Emenike said that whatever we pay was a token to what the players earn in Europe and that he was surprised bonus would be made an issue by some people.”
The player who rejected the bonus was also at the centre-stage of the bonus row that brought Nigeria international shame in Namibia, which made Nigeria arrive in Brazil behind schedule for the 2014 Confederation Cup, as the Eagles had opted not to travel after the World Cup qualifier in Windhoek.