The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has commenced the payment of 30 per cent allowance to its players and coaches participating in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, an official said.
The NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, made the disclosure in Port Harcourt on Tuesday at a seminar jointly organised by The Sun Newspapers and the Rivers Government.
He said the sum of 2.8 million US dollars (about N1.08 billion) out of the eight million dollars from FIFA was currently being shared amongst Super Eagles players and coaches.
“The early payment is part of an agreement reached between the NFF and the players and coaches in November 2017.
“We met with the players and ironed out various issues which ranged from allowances to transportation from their bases, among others.
“At the meeting, the players demanded 30 per cent of the eight million dollars (about N2.9 billion) from FIFA, and this amounts to 2.8 million dollars. We also offered them 50 per cent if they reach the final.
“As I speak, the players’ accounts are being credited with 2.8 million dollars that we agreed and signed with them,” Pinnick said.
The NFF President said the early payment was aimed at motivating the players to perform at their optimum level at the Mundial starting on June 14.
He expressed optimism that the team would emerge from their group and possibly reach the semi-finals or final of the competition.
“It beats my imagination when people say Nigeria cannot win the World Cup. We can win the World Cup, because it is a game of 11 players against 11 players.
“Winning the World Cup boils down to preparation and the commitment to win. The NFF is committed to winning the Cup, and this informed our decision of lining up several friendly matches for the team,” Mr Pinnick said.
He said the Super Eagles jersey was now rated number one in terms of number sold in the world by Nike.
“Three million shirts have already been ordered by fans globally,’’ the NFF president said.
Also speaking, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers said the state government would continue to support the NFF and Super Eagles team to win the World Cup.
He said the team has the same opportunity just like other participating teams to win the Mundial and make the country proud.
“The Super Eagles performed well in the qualifying games, and so the team needs all the support, love and prayers of Nigerians to do well in Russia.
“The Rivers government will not relent in supporting the team. We have a nice package for the team, which we shall unveil at the appropriate time,” Wike said.
Meanwhile, Adegboye Onigbinde, a former coach of Super Eagles, said the team would have better chances of winning the Mundial with early preparation.
“We need to develop our football standard by discovering talents and nurturing them to win the World Cup,” he said.