Nigeria U23 Players, Officials Cry For Help Over Unpaid Bonus
By Niyi Busari
Members of the Nigeria U23 Men National Team that failed to pick the ticket to the 2020 Olympics have been lamenting over non-payment of their match bonuses and camp allowance, BSNSports.com.ng reports.
The Imama Amapakabo-led team which have their camp in Abuja in 2019 for four months in preparations for the qualifier to the 2019 U23 African Nations Cup held in Egypt are pleading that the authorities concerned should pay their backlogs of unless bonuses.
BSN Sports investigation across board revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has not paid four months camping allowance, two wins against Sudan and Libya on the road to Egypt. At the 2019 CAF U23 AFCON in Egypt, where the team won one and drew one match, the allowance and bonus for the two matches have also not been paid.
Speaking with three players who are based abroad to confirm whether they have been paid or not, the three athletes who are not with the situation confirmed that they are still being owed.
One of the team regular player, who pleaded for anonymity said: “It is painful that we have not been paid till now. And more painful when no one is talking to us about when the money will be paid. This is one of the reasons, why some players decided to represent other countries who will take care of their welfare.” He lamented
A backroom staff of the team, who was angry when speaking with BSN Sports also lamented about how they are being treated like a rag. He added that they are suffering because they cannot take care of their initial home responsibilities and urged the federation to pay the money as soon as possible.
“You see, you cannot blame some coaches if they collect money from players. How can you explain this? When a coach is not paid while in camp and when he took Nigeria to an international competition. And we heard that they were paid hundreds of thousand of naira last year but they did not even think that we are family men who have responsibility to be discharged. I mean, how do we cope in December and January when you have bills to settle but no money to settle them?. Please, help us talk to them to pay our money so that we can settle house rent and school fees of our children.” He cried out.
BSN Sports correspondent also spoke with one of the federation’s staff who did not want his name published, he confirmed that the NFF is still owing the team and also alleged that the NFF received money close to N100 million to settle the coaches and players.
An unconfirmed source told BSN Sports that the Nigeria U23 team are being owed four months camping allowance, $6,000 (for the two wins against Sudan and Libya) as well $5,000 for the win against Zambia and $2,500 for the draw against South Africa in Egypt.
Egypt the hosts of the 2019 CAF U23 AFCON , Coted’Ivoire, South Africa and Nigeria made it to the semifinal but the bronze winning team in 2016 are the only team who failed to pick one of the three tickets to the Olympics in Tokyo.