Unpaid Match Bonuses: Dare Leads NFF Delegates To UK To Appease Super Eagles Players
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By Amaechi Agbo
In a move to avert division and possible protest among the Super Eagles players ahead of the 2022 World Cup play-off against Ghana, Sports Minister, Mr Sunday Dare will lead a delegation of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF to the United Kingdom to meet with players, www.bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick who disclosed this on Thursday did not state when the delegation will embark on the trip nor how many individuals would make up the team.
However, Best Choice Sports gathered that the visit has to do with issues relating to players welfare, unpaid match bonuses and the need to convince the them to deliver the 2022 World Cup ticket at the expense of Ghana.
Despite the NFF reaping billions of Naira in sponsorship from tens of corporate organisations, issues of unpaid match bonuses and players welfare have continuously dominated Super Eagles build up to matches recently.
For instance, ahead of the recently concluded 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa said that the federation have not paid the players bonuses and allowances for two matches.
“We are owed two games allowances by the NFF and we will be having a meeting when every player is in camp,” said the Turkey-based forward.
“The coaches, officials of the NFF and representatives of the players will meet to discuss, so we can stick with a plan,” Musa had said in the build up to the team’s Groups D opener against Egypt on January 9.
It is not however clear if the NFF have paid the outstanding allowances at press time
In the past, there has been friction between players of the national team and the federation in which the country was taken to ransom and painted in a bad light by disgruntled players.
At the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Nigeria made the wrong headlines owing to issues connected to non-payment and delay of bonus payments.
Super Eagles players skipped a day’s training ahead of their second-round clash against France to press for their outstanding bonuses, which was then only resolved by intervention from the federal government.
Former coach of the Eagles, Gernot Rohr was owned months of salaries and other entitlements before he was disengaged in December last year
Bearing this in mind, the NFF seems to have perfected plans to meet the players in England to iron out issues.
“We are also hoping to have a zoom call with all of our players as well. The essence is to ensure that issues any player might have is thrashed out so that we all have the same focus: qualifying for the World Cup.
“We will be leading a delegation to the United Kingdom soon, led by the Honourable Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Sunday Dare to hold meetings with our players.
“I’m so glad the Honourable Minister is leading this delegation himself, highlighting how important the World Cup is to us & our team,” Pinnick said on Twitter
Inside sources in the NFF say the planned visit is not unconnected with the forthcoming World Cup play-off against Ghana as well as settling issues relating to outstanding players entitlements.
Most key players in the Super Eagle’s such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, William Troost-Ekong, Peter Etebo, Emmanuel Dennis, among others all ply their trades in the English league.
Nigeria will take on perennial rivals, Ghana in a two-leg home-and-away play-off matches for a place into the 2022 FIFA World Cup final holiday between November and December this year in the Asian country, Qatar.