NFA, Players Guilty Over Bonus Row – Panel
The Ministerial Panel on
“Review of Players’ Bonuses” has indicted players and technical crew of the Super Eagles over the recent bonus row that broke out in the team.
Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, had on July 11 inaugurated the seven-member panel.
The panel was set up to unearth the causes of the bonus row which broke out after a World Cup qualifier between the Super Eagles and the Brave Warriors of Namibia.
The players had insisted on their full winning bonus of $5,000 (about N805,000) in spite of drawing the match in Namibia, while the NFA offered them $2,500 (about N402,500).
The panel was headed by Mr Segun Adeniyi, former Special Adviser to late President Umaru Yar’Adua while Mr Shehu Dikko served as its secretary.
Adeniyi, while presenting the report to the minister of sports said mutual distrust by the parties concerned and indiscipline on the part of some players sparked the row.
He said that lack of quality leadership by those in charge of the players’ affair at the time of the crisis which broke out in Namibia also contributed to the row.
The former presidential aide pointed out that officials of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Eagles captain Joseph Yobo and six home-based players, were spoken to before the conclusion of the report.
“One thing was clear from all the submissions made to our panel and the interactive session we held with critical stakeholders.
“This is, that the Super Eagles who were handsomely rewarded by Nigerians for winning the Africa Cup of Nations in February could not appreciate the implication of embarrassing their country.
“The technical crew members conveniently looked the other way because of their own pecuniary and vested interests.
“The football administration was also tardy in the manner in which it handled communication on the bonus issue by not formally conveying its decisions to the players ahead of the tournament,’’ Adeniyi said.
Adeniyi criticised a situation where players put incentive first rather than see invitation to the national team as a privilege and honour.
He expressed regret that bonus payment had over the years been mismanaged by all the parties involved resulting in avoidable crises that had desecrated the image of the country.
“From the 1994 World Cup qualifying matches to the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Mali, to the recent case in Namibia, bonus row has been a recurring challenge for our football administration.
“I want to say that the real incentive for any footballer invited to the national team is principally the privilege and pride of wearing the national colours of his or her country.
“This is to the extent that bonus payment should really not be an issue.
“In most countries, it is usually determined by the football administration according their financial standing and the importance of the matches at hand,’’ Adeniyi added.
Meanwhile, Sports analyst Jide Fashikun, has urged the sports minister not to implement the report of the panel on the bonus row.
Fashikun in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observed that the report, if implemented could tear the team’s World Cup qualifying campaign apart.
He noted that the report which contained “Code of Conduct for Players’’ was capable of infuriating foreign-based players who would form the nucleus of the world cup qualifying team.
Victor Iroele, another sports analyst advised the minister to delay the implementation of the report untill the end of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Iroele noted that any conclusion reached without the input of players such as Mikel Obi, Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo and Emmanuel Emenike, among others could be counter-productive.
AATF President Lauds Aruna’s Performance At WTT In Singapore
President of Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, has commended Quadri Aruna for his exploits at the just-ended World Table Tennis (WTT) Singapore Smash.
Aruna made it to the quarterfinals of the Grand Smash series in Singapore, beating some top seeds on the way to becoming the first African to reach that stage at the WTT.
Remarkable was the Nigerian top seed’s defeat of Japanese star, Tomokazu Harimoto, who had beaten Aruna on three occasions. The Nigerian eventually fell 4-0 to the superiority power of World number four, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano.
For reaching the quarterfinals in Singapore, Aruna will earn 350 ranking points, which will also raise his rating at the next ranking by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
El-Salhy stated that the Nigerian has continued to set the pace for Africa at the Olympics, World Championships and now WTT.
“Congratulations for your fantastic show-up in Singapore, especially for the great win in the round of 16 against Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto to qualify for the quarterfinal.
“I will like just to pass to you my full appreciation on behalf of the ATTF Executive Council (EC) as the main ambassador of African table tennis in ITTF super events. We wish you to continue to make the continent proud and a great ambassador of your country and Africa,” he said.
Again, Aruna has been picked to compete in the world elite table tennis stars, WTT Champions $800,000 prize money in Xinxiang, China next month.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Para Table Tennis team arrived from Italy, yesterday, where it featured at the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open 2023. The team won two silver and bronze medals.
As NFF Denies Allegation
The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) may clash with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following the ‘sack’ of Super Eagles’ assistant coaches, Finidi George and goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorunmu.
The duo were barred from Super Eagles’ camp, allegedly, on the request of head coach, Jose Peseiro, as the team prepares for Friday’s 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau at the MKO Stadium, Abuja.
The NFF, has however, denied the sack saying: “As part of cost-cutting measures instituted at the beginning of the new administration, we established a rotation policy among the assistant coaches, based on the high number, which was agreed with all of them. The last time that the team had a programme, Mr. Finidi George was the person who travelled for the friendly match in Portugal. This rotation policy is only for matches. When there is a tournament, all of them will be with the team.”
The Federation claimed that Finidi knew he would not be in the team for the games against Guinea Bissau, saying that the current trip is for Usman Abdallah.
“The other person, who could have been contending, Mr. Salisu Yusuf, has been sent to the U23 team. There was no victimisation, sleight of hand or any disrespect meant to our illustrious ex-international players.
“The case of goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorounmu, is somewhat peculiar, as the former Nigerian goalkeeper showed a clear lack of desire to be in camp for the matches against Guinea Bissau.
CAFCC: Rivers United Secures Quarter Final Ticket, Eyes Trophy
Nigeria representative in CAF Confederation Cup Football competition, Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, has secured one of the quarter final tickets in the competition with a game left in the group stage.
Rivers United, the Pride of Rivers, as fondly called, on Sunday at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, forced their visitors, Motema Pembe of DR Congo to a 2-2 draw to top group B, with ten points.
This is the first time in history, United has reached the quarter final stage of the competition and vowed to make the State proud by bringing the trophy home.
In his post match interview, the technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, said the game was a tough one, saying that their opponents have the permutation that if they win there are chances for them to qualify.
“ The game was a very tough one because our opponents have the permutation that if they win us, they have chances to qualify, that is why I was not surprised when they scored the first goal but I thank my players for showing a good character in the second half and went ahead and unfortunately they equalised.
“ In the dressing room, I have to talk to players to boost their morales. I commend our opponents for their impressive performance , they are a good side”, Eguma said.
Also speaking, the Coach of Motema Pembe, Tumba Mukanda Djene, attributed the draw to poor officiating, saying that referee was really against his side.
As it is, Rivers United top group B with ten points, three goals advantage over ASEC Mimosas that also has ten points but one goal advantage.
Rivers United will play her last game with ASEC Mimosas April 2nd, in Ivory Coast, but draw or win will make United finish top.
By: Tonye Orabere
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