* NFF thanks President Buhari after receiving AFCON money yesterday
Super Eagles players were in bonus dispute with officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday leading to Captain of the team, John Obi Mikel skipping the scheduled mandatory press conference to herald Nigeria’s second Group B clash with Guinea today.
The players were protesting against the non-payment of their $10,000 bonus for the win
“My player (Ahmed Musa) couldn’t attend the press conference today because they have a very important meeting,” coach Gernot Rohr told reporters shortly after the conference.
“I just hope the situation can be resolved so we can focus on what we have in front of us.”
The squad was an hour late for training on Tuesday.
However, in a swift move to douse the tension generated by the non-payment of the allowance, the Federal Government released part of the money approved for participation of some national teams in international competitions, including the Super Eagles’ participation at the on-going 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
NFF’s Acting President, Seyi Akinwunmi (in the absence of President Amaju Pinnick who is fully involved with organization as President of AFCON) 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.
“I was on a telephone discussion with the Captain of the team Mikel Obi this morning and can safely say that all clarifications have been made and the usual cordial relationship and understanding between the players and we the administrators is still intact.
“I have challenged them to go all out and win the trophy assuring them that their monies all the way to the final is guaranteed. It is now for the players to focus on the championship and deliver glory to the nation. I have no doubt of their ability to do that.”
Akinwunmi also specially commended the maturity of the team and its leaders, including skipper John Obi Mikel and for their unflinching focus on the job at hand which is winning the AFCON Trophy.
Pay rows have often surrounded Nigerian teams, while players have boycotted training during important qualifiers or at major tournaments over unpaid fees.