Nigeria’s football house of horrors

It is possible Nigerians did not celebrate the result of Wednesday night’s World Cup Qualifying game against Namibia that ended 1-1.

Reasons will be that lots of fans of the Nigerian national team expected an easy win after last week’s 1-0 victory against Kenya.

But on Thursday morning, Nigerians woke up with the news that the players once again rejected their match bonuses and had planned not to travel to South Africa and then Brazil for the Confederations Cup.

They won against Kenya and were given $5000 each which they also rejected last week.

Truth must be told that their win bonuses used to be $10,000 but it was slashed by half because the Nigeria Football Federation claim funds are low.

Wednesday’s draw against Namibia also used to attract $5, 000 but they were given $2,500.

A trip back

Now shortly after the Africa Cup of Nations, the Nigerian Federation announced that they were going to cut corners financially because things were no longer as they used to be.

In doing that a lot of back room staff from the nation’s foremost national team, the Super Eagles were sacked.

From the video analyst to the media officer to two assistant coaches and the reasons was simply the fact that they had less funds to spend than before.

However many close watchers of Nigerian football faulted some of the cost cutting measures of the NFF as, maybe, witch-hunting or something of that sort.

Their argument was that you cannot sack two senior national team coaches to save cost then at the same time hire a foreign coach for the U20 team.

Then there was another argument regarding the sacking of the media officer of the Super Eagles yet leaving media officers of all other men and women national teams of all age grades on their jobs.

The Super Eagles have World Cup qualifying matches as well as the Confederation Cup yet have no media officer whilst all other national teams even those inactive didn’t have theirs sacked.

But maybe the NFF was right. There was really not enough money and some heads had to roll.

Why didn’t the players take the money?

Maybe our players are greedy; maybe they play for the national team just because of the money they can make or else why would they reject $5,000 and $2,500 for national service?

After all we flew them first class and put them in five star hotels, didn’t we?

They should have accepted the money we gave to them. After all they also read and heard in the news that the Federation no longer had money to be outlandish in its spending.

If the players were not greedy, they should have taken the money and played for the pride of their country because “a little is enough for a man who is not guilty”.

After all a great number of them do not have club careers that they can boast about and need the national team as a launch pad to greater things at club side level so they should have taken the money, right? Wrong!

Why the players were right to turn down the bonuses

Having said all that and played the devil’s advocate, I insist the players were right to have turned down the bonuses.

A couple of them get more than that at their various clubs and do not need it but that is far from the point.

You cannot claim to be cutting down on cost but still remain an undisciplined bunch when it comes to managing your finances.

The players, lot of them were in Faro, Portugal for the AFCON preparations and then South Africa for the AFCON proper and saw what a jamboree it was.

They saw people who had no business being at the AFCON go there on the Federation’s bill.

Now after the cost cutting measures were put in place, the players were at the camp in Germany and saw financial recklessness and would have wondered if it was the same NFF that claimed they had no money.

I saw pictures of the Mexico friendly and Emeka Inyama, Anyansi Agwu, Aminu Maigari, Chris Green amongst many other NFF board members who travelled for a “meaningless” friendly.

I think there would have been better understanding if the NFF had told the players that they could only have the NFF president and maybe the Technical Committee man because of lack of funds but no, it was the same old free for all travelling.

We still had “Stakeholders” on the plane to Kenya and Namibia, there were still girl friends of key people in football on those planes, countless number of journalists; and yes we have state FA chairmen sponsored to Namibia. All these on the Federation bill yet the cost cutting measures should only affect the players?

Can the NFF come out plain and tell Nigerians how much they spent to prosecute the two away games against Kenya and Namibia (backed with documents) and then also reveal how much they spent on the away games against Liberia and Rwanda last year, two games played before the cost cutting measures were introduced and let us see the marked difference.

The players know they are being shortchanged by the NFF that is why rejected the bonuses.

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  1. Well analysed stance. The players witness an uneccessary carousel of spending on persons not related to the games,suddenly they are short-changed on their bonuses. It's difficult to call but the Confed cup shouldn't be compromised by this brouhaha.

    1. As a Ghanaian, I can only offer one suggestion to resolve this mess. Ask some of your Nigerian Mafia compatriots to get busy on the phone and run a few more 419 scams in EUROPE AND AMERICA. Then they can donate the money to the NFF.

      To play on one's national team is the GREATEST HONOR to which a footballer could ever aspire. Shame on your Nigerian players for denigrating that honor in a petty dispute over their personal gain.