The untold story of Dike’s bonus turn down, By Mansur Abubakar

Apart from Stephen Keshi’s return as the Super Eagles manager and the official inauguration of the Akwa Ibom international stadium, the most discussed sporting issue in recent times has been Falconets star, Courtney Dike’s turning down her N1.2 million bonus for the part she played in Nigeria U20 Women achievement at the World Cup in Canada.

Many hailed Dike for putting country above personal gains and for being the first in history to refuse collecting the traditional bonuses doled out after every sporting feat, while, some were skeptical about the whole situation,sensing there was more to the story than what Dike’s family and the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, were telling the public.

Well, according to the girl’s family, it was a thing of honour and pride for Courtney to have represented her fatherland and money was the last thing on their minds when they granted the 17 year old Accounting student of Oklahoma State University permission to team up with the Falconets for the World Cup.

The NFF competitions Director, Sanusi Abubakar, in an interview with Sports Radio, said he had never seen anything like that before and others should emulate the young lady.

“I have never, I repeat never seen something like this before. In fact, when she turned down the money, we went ahead and called her mother who said their daughter had their permission to turn down the bonuses because she was elated to represent her country and felt there’s no reason to be paid afterwards,” he said.

Experienced sports journalist and CAF Media instructor, Paul Bassey, in his Complete Sports column called on President Goodluck Jonathan to honour the OKC FC forward’s father with a national medal for instilling discipline in his daughter in today’s world that is filled with selfish motives.

“In a country where we are fast running short of heroes, Mr. Dike deserves a national honour for inculcating in his daughter the lasting spirit of patriotism… What you can do for your country!” Bassey opined.

The two issues I would like to point out here are, if truly Dike’s family asked their daughter to turn down the monies out of patriotism and immense love for country why then has her elder brother, Bright Dike, who has been playing for the Eagles since November 11, 2012 (when he first appeared against Venezuela) not been asked to do the same by the family.

The second contention is, as an amateur athlete on a scholarship, it would be a violation for her to have accepted the bonus because according to the rules governing the National Collegiate Athletics Association, NCAA, in the United States, young athletes are not supposed to be paid “salary for participating in athletics” neither are they allowed to be paid “prize money above actual and necessary expenses” among many other rules on the NCAA website.

If she had accepted the bonus, she would have had bigger issues like losing her almost $35,000 annual scholarship which enables her to attend the Oklahoma State University and play for the Cowgirls.

As for the NFF, they keep pushing up this story in order to silence players that have always fought to be paid their monies already allocated by the government, which, if not collected by the athletes, would end up in some pockets elsewhere.

It is a good thing to put country first above any personal gain but when there’s another side to the story, people deserve to hear it.

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