The Sports Minister intervened in the row between Super Eagles, NFF.
Less than a week to Nigeria’s first match at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, the players and officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, disagreed over money meant for the players.
The players questioned the NFF over its management of the $8 million (N1.2 billion) provided by the world football governing body, FIFA, after Nigeria qualified for the World Cup.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the players protested to the NFF President, Aminu Maigari, while in the U.S. for the last two friendly matches, demanding their own share of the money. They allegedly threatened that should the federation refuse to pay them their dues, they would not play in the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Nigeria plays her first match against Iran on June 16.
The players, led by their captain, Joseph Yobo, wanted their match bonuses for the group matches paid before the competition kicks off. Each player is to get $10,000 for each of the group matches.
The NFF reportedly claimed that they have only received $1 million from FIFA out of the $8 million promised; and have used part of the money to organise the friendly matches and make other World Cup preparations.
PREMIUM TIME learnt that apart from FIFA’s $1 million, the federal government also gave the NFF N850 million out of the N1.4 billion total budget for the tournament.
To ensure that the disagreement does not affect Nigeria’s performance at the World Cup, the Sports Minister, Tamuno Danagogo, intervened.
At a meeting between Mr. Danagogo and Mr. Maigari, at the Maksoud Plaza Hotel, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Monday evening, the minister charged the NFF boss to negotiate with the team to be able to reach an agreement so that the players’ morale would be boosted during the tournament.
An aide to the minister, Patrick Omorodion, who confirmed the meeting, said the minister was of the view that the welfare of the team should be paramount during the tournament.
“If we do not treat them well and make them happy, they may just go into the tournament and perform badly and ensure that we pack our bags and return,” he quoted Mr. Danagogo as saying.
“So they are the reasons why Nigeria is participating in the tournament and we should do everything within our powers to ensure that we do our best for the team”.
Mr. Danagogo pledged to also personally appeal to the players to put the interest of the nation first during the tournament.