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Double jeopardy for Flying Eagles as NFF yet to pay bonuses

For the national U-20, the Flying Eagles this is definitely not the best of times as they are still battling the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF,…

For the national U-20, the Flying Eagles this is definitely not the best of times as they are still battling the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, for their allowances and qualification bonuses days after they crashed out of the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.

Problem started for the junior Eagles after they failed to fly high in Poland crashing out of the world U-20 championship at the round of 16 stage where they were sent packing by their neighbours, Senegal.

The Flying Eagles on their part had raised the hopes of millions of Nigerians after they opened their campaign in style with the 4-0 drubbing of Qatar but ended up breaking the hearts of football loving Nigerians.

They then fell 0-2 to the USA in their second group match before forcing Ukraine to a 1-1 draw in their last group match to end as one of the best losers which surprisingly was enough to take them to the round of 16.

Against a more compact and coordinated Junior Terranga Lions in the round of 16, the Flying Eagles put up another underwhelming performance to finally exit the championship in 2-1 defeat on June 3.

The early elimination of the Flying Eagles didn’t go down with most football fans in Nigeria who condemned the team’s performance and called for instant disbandment of the team coached by Paul Aigbogun.

Although they fell short of expectations, the Flying Eagles had another battle to fight. Apart from the fact that they are currently the object of redicule by football fans in Nigeria, they have to fight for their allowances and qualification bonuses. The battle therefore started right there in Poland when the Flying Eagles refused to leave Hotel Ambassador Premium unless they were paid all their entitlements.

The players therefore used the same approach once adopted by the Super Falcons to demand for their entitlements when they won the Africa Women Cup of Nations in South Africa in 2016.

The Super Falcons refused to leave South Africa until a Presidential intervention convinced them to return to Nigeria. Back home, the ladies had to embark on street protest which took them to the National Assembly and the Presidential Villa before the Presidency finally released money for them to be paid.

The Flying Eagles are since back in Nigeria but the battle for their bonuses and allowances is still not over as they are waiting in a hotel in Abuja pending when the NFF will pay.

The failure of the Nigerian Federation to pay the players’ bonuses and allowances has come to many as a surprise considering the hefty sponsorship deals and financial aids from FIFA that have come the way of the federation.

Consequently, critics of the federation are blaming the present ‘show of shame’ on alleged corruption in the glasshouse. Considering the fact that the NFF leadership is currently facing case of fraud running into billions instituted against it by the Economic nd Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, such views cannot be said to be unfounded.

The Amaju Pinnick led NFF is gradually becoming notorious for consistently failing to play players allowances and bonuses. It will be recalled that the federation once faced harsh criticisms from football analysts when it announced the abolishment of match bonuses and allowances for the cadet national teams.

It will be recalled that after their final preparation in Atlanta USA, disagreement over camping allowances almost stopped the Dream Team from travelling to Rio, Brazil for the 2016 Olympics. Even in Rio, the team almost boycotted their quarter-final clash with Denmark.

Thus, the football federation is presently receiving knocks from sports analysts who are livid that with all that has come into the coffers of the NFF in the Pinnick era, the football house is still finding it hard to meet up with its financial obligations to the national teams.

For those who feel strongly that the NFF shouldn’t default in its financial responsibilities, Daily Trust findings will really shock them to their marrows.

When contacted on why the NFF is yet to pay the Flying Eagles their bonuses and allowances, a management staff who spoke on condition of anonymity said at the moment there is even no money to prosecute the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

To put it succinctly, he meant the NFF does not have the money to expend on Super Eagles who have less than two weeks to play their opening match in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

He said “The Flying Eagles will be paid their money. We are waiting for government to release money to us so that we can pay the players.

“As a matter of fact, let me tell you in confidence that even the Super Eagles, there is no money for them. There is no money for the federation to prosecute the AFCON in Egypt.

“This is not to say the Flying Eagles are going to lose their money. As soon as money is released to us from the federal government, we would pay them,” he assured.

Our source however wondered why the players have been kept in Abuja. He said they should have been told to drop their accounts with the federation for payment once money is available in the NFF.

He said keeping the players and their officials in a hotel is making the situation worse as more bills will be accumulated.

“Personally, I don’t understand why the General Secretary has asked the players to stay back in Abuja when nobody knows exactly when government will release money to us.

“I feel the players should have dropped their individual accounts with the NFF so that whenever there is money, such accounts would be credited.

“I don’t see any sense in asking the players to stay in a hotel when nobody is sure when money will be raised for them,” he said.

Similarly, Trust Sports spoke to an official of the team who confirmed that the players were still waiting for their money.

He also said ‘everything humanly possible’ is being done by the NFF to pay the Flying Eagles and their officials.

“I believe very soon the players will be paid their money. Even yesterday (Wednesday) the Director of competitions in the NFF visited the boys and assured them that they will be paid.

“We have been told by the NFF that government is going to release money for the team to be paid. So there is no cause for alarm,” he said.

As reassuring as the words of the officials may be, the Flying Eagles are still stuck in Abuja. And as at the time of press, the NFF was yet to settle the player’s entitlements.

And if reports from the team’s camp are anything to go by, the players have resolved not to move an inch until each of player is paid his allowances and qualification bonuses totalling $5,000.

 

 

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