NFF passes the buck over Super Eagles unpaid bonuses

NFF passes the buck over Super Eagles unpaid bonuses
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The Super Eagles are on a mission to win AFCON 2023 with their knockout tie against Cameroon on Saturday, but an ugly situation is brewing between the players and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

While the players are focused on their next game, hoping to go to the final and win Nigeria’s fourth AFCON title, they also have to contend with the issue of their bonuses at the tournament.

The latest reports suggest that NFF has not paid the players their bonuses from the group games. While the players have not made an issue of it, it could derail the team’s focus and their chances of winning AFCON 2023.

Following this latest incident, there has been buck-passing, with the NFF trying to play down the seriousness of the issue.

NFF blames CBN over Super Eagles bonuses

Super Eagles in training
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What will it take for the Super Eagles to go for a tournament without controversies? It seems that it has become normal for the NFF and the national team to have money issues at every competition.

The Nigerian side who will play the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Saturday are yet to be paid their bonuses and allowances, with the NFF shifting the buck from its table.

According to officials of the NFF, the delay of Super Eagles bonuses and allowances is not their fault. They have blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the delay in the payment of bonuses and camp allowances of the Super Eagles at the AFCON 2023.

Despite the situation, the Super Eagles have not made a fuss about the situation.

Reports suggest that the only payment the players have received are their camp allowances to cover the training camp in Dubai and part of their stay in Ivory Coast.

According to the NFF, they have released the funds to pay the players, but it is trapped with CBN. The federation claims they are waiting for CBN to effect payment.

Before the start of the tournament, there were reports that the Presidency had released funds for the team to prosecute the tournament.

1.3 million dollars was released to the NFF for the Super Eagles by the Presidency, but after their three group games, the players are yet to receive payment.

What the Super Eagles are due

Super Eagles celebrate
Credit: Icon Sport

The camp allowance for the Super Eagles is said to be $200 a player daily, but as of Friday 26, January, neither the players nor officials have received any payment.

The Super Eagles are due $5,000-a-man for a win bonus and $2,500 for a draw. It means they are to be paid $12,500 each for the two wins and a draw they recorded in the group stage of the competition.

It is not the first time the national team has had funding issues. In 2019, Mikel Obi had to intervene in a bonus row between the Super Eagles and NFF.

The players had threatened to boycott training after the Federation failed to pay their outstanding bonuses following their 1-0 win over Burundi in their first AFCON Group B fixture.

The incident was a few days after the Super Falcons staged a sit-in protest in their hotel in Paris after elimination from the Women’s World Cup in France.

As usual, the NFF claimed it was not its fault.

The mentioned cases are a couple of the rows between the Super Eagles and the NFF, where they faced off in issues concerning their bonuses and allowances.

Many hope the recent issues will not snowball into a full-blown battle with the NFF, as it could derail the Super Eagles' quest to win AFCON 2023.

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.