Nigeria’s preparations for the World Cup may well suffer even more setbacks after it was learnt that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are demanding hefty cash payments from teams, who wish to engage the Super Eagles in warm-up matches prior to South Africa 2010.
Indepth investigations by our source have revealed that organisers for Nigeria’s only confirmed World Cup warm-up match against Colombia on May 30 in London have asked the NFF to review the Eagles match fee of $150,000.
They have also asked the Nigeria football authorities to dip into their pockets and come up with at least $50,000 as part of their own contribution to the London stadium hire of about $150,000.
NFF officials are also asking organisers for the Colombia game to pay for their flight tickets to London even though Nigeria are due there before the match for their World Cup training camp in Essex.
The NFF have confirmed that they are deep in negotiations with Iceland for a friendly on May 26, but this game may hit the rocks because while Iceland are disposed to foot the travel and boarding expenses of the Eagles, officials are believed to be demanding for an appearance fee of $100,000.
“We’re not an irresponsible organisation,” insisted NFF official, Tunde Aderibigbe.
“We know how important it is to prepare well so as to do well at the World Cup and as such we cannot compromise on this.
“But we also have bills to pay. We have to pay for our training camp, bonuses and allowances of the players, among other costs.”
It was gathered that the NFF splashed over 70 million naira for the participation of the home-based Eagles at the WAFU Nations Cup in Abeokuta as well as the FIFA Under-17 Female World Cup qualifying match against South Africa.
However, a perplexed football pundit wondered, “It is rather baffling that the NFF wish to commercialise these World Cup friendlies even though FIFA have paid them a million US dollars to prepare for the competition.
“Rather than be asking to be paid, it should be Nigeria even paying these teams to play them because they are the ones who really need these matches to prepare for the World Cup. Colombia and Iceland did not qualify for the World Cup.”
Proposed World Cup warm-ups against Paraguay, Ukraine and North Korea have all fallen through in the last few weeks and officials insist they will remain mum about other test games until they have been finalised.
Nigeria are pitched against Argentina, Greece and South Korea at the World Cup in June.