Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Tuesday suspended a training strike over unpaid bonuses at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt following last-minute pleas by the NFF.
Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) promised to pay a win bonus from their 1-0 victory over the swallows Burundi on Saturday, by the end of the week. The team finally agreed to train in Alexandria, 30 minutes after schedule, but the players had earlier boycotted the official pre-match conference.
NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire told AFP “the matter has been resolved”, conceding that funds for the tournament had arrived late.
Officials close to the team, who spoke under anonymity, told AFP that following reassurances from the NFF “the team captain spoke to the players, asking them to show some understanding after which the team agreed to train”.
Other NFF officials disclosed that the players have been paid a daily training allowance of $200-a-player from June 2 to June 30.
Nigeria’s top football body cash strapped and besieged by corruption trials against its top officials have struggled to pay athletes their bonuses and allowances at several tournaments.
Both the women’s senior team at the Women’s World Cup in France and the men’s FIFA U20 World Cup team in Poland also embarked on pay strikes to press for their entitle.
Meanwhile, The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed receiving part of the money approved by the Federal Government for participation of some National Teams in international competitions, including the Super Eagles’ participation at the ongoing 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
NFF’s Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi said on Tuesday that the Federation received part of the money on Tuesday morning and had immediately launched the process to convert the sum to American Dollars to pay the players their only outstanding entitlement – the win bonus for the match against Burundi in Alexandria on Saturday evening – and for subsequent matches.
“We want to specially thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his keen interest in resolving this matter quickly, which has enabled us to receive part of the money in record time. We have immediately started the process of converting the money to American Dollars at the Central Bank in order to pay the players the bonus for the win over Burundi three days ago as well as plan for subsequent games.”
Akinwunmi added that on Monday, 24th June, the NFF had transferred to the players and their officials their camp allowances up to the last day of the group phase matches at the AFCON 2019, as well as the appearance fee for the friendly against Zimbabwe in Asaba on 8th June.
“We have paid these monies through our funds managers, Financial Derivatives Company on Monday, 24th June 2019. The only issue we had was that some of the players did not send their bank accounts and instead authorized the bank to pay their monies to some other individuals. The bank requested clear authorization for this to happen.
Akinwunmi also specially commended the maturity of the team and its leaders, including skipper Mikel John Obi and for their unflinching focus on the job at hand which is winning the AFCON Trophy.