After the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was called out over backlogs of unpaid bonuses and allowances for the Super Falcons, other national teams have concluded plans to drag the federation over unpaid bonuses.
On the 23rd of March 2023, the Nigerian media held a pre-match press conference for Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro in the build-up to the AFCON qualifiers against Guinea Bissau at the MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
The news of the NFF owing Peseiro outstanding salaries had littered the airwaves, and the media was itching to get the head coach’s view on the development before the game but got disappointed by his sarcasm.
“I will ask my wife,” was Peseiro’s response, which if read between the lines gave a crystal clear impression of the existing challenges faced behind the scene off the pitch.
With a couple of weeks to the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, it was the turn of Super Falcons’ head coach Randy Waldrum, who left no stone unturned when he slammed the NFF of outstanding bonuses and allowances owed to the team.
“Up until about three weeks ago, I had been owed 14 months’ salary, and then they paid seven months’ salary.
“We still have players that haven’t been paid since two years ago when we played the summer series in the US. it is a travesty,” Randy lashed out.
Although the World Cup campaign quelled all friction between the team and the federation, global professional footballers representatives – FIFPRO released an official statement to ignite another blowout.
“The team is extremely frustrated that they have had to pursue the Nigeria Football Federation for these payments before and during the tournament and may have to continue doing so afterward.
“It is regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers,” FIFPRO stated.
In light of these ‘callouts’, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria have joined the train of whistle-blowers, following a team statement mailed to Sports writer and lawyer Osasu Obayiuwana.
The mail was titled “Plight Of The Flying Eagles That Achieved A Quarter-Final Finish In Argentina.”
Recall that the Nigeria U-20 national team reached the last eight stage at the World Cup hosted in Argentina earlier in 2023, before losing to South Korea in the quarters after defeating the host team in the Round of 16.
The mail indicated a qualification bonus promised by former NFF President Amaju Melvin Pinnick if the team made it to the U-20 World Cup.
“In May 2022, the team won the Wafu U20 tournament and qualified for the AFCON U20 in Egypt during [the] Pinnick Amaju administration, and was promised a qualification bonus but no specific amount was mentioned.”
The team also stated that the NFF’s General Secretary sat with players and officials before the tournament and “pledged” 5,000 to each player if the team qualified for the U20 World Cup.
“In Argentina, the team stayed for 31 days and reached the quarter-finals but no match bonus was paid with only 20 days camping allowance out of 31 days, and 20 days camping allowance amounts to $2,000 which is $100 per day,” the statement read further.
It is important to note that football in Nigeria cannot realistically breed progress if the Nigeria Football Federation continues to drown in accusations surrounding financial mismanagement and contract negligence.
These issues continue to overshadow the progression recorded by the Flying Eagles (WAFU U-20, AFCON U-20, and U-20 FIFA World Cup), the Super Falcons (AWCON and FIFA Women’s World Cup), and the Super Eagles after qualifying for the AFCON with a game to spare.
Also, the NFF is owing the Nigeria women’s U20 team, Falconets, match bonus for their World Cup qualification. The Golden Eaglets who were the champions at the WAFU B competition have not received a dime after picking the CAF U17 AFCON ticket.
Hopefully, the NFF can settle the scores across the board in due course.