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Sunday, January 19, 2020

AFCON Update: Nigerian Super Eagle players refuse to train over pay row

Players from Nigeria national football team have refused to train ahead of their second group game on Wednesday against Guinea – in the African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt – because of a row over bonuses.

The players have not received a $10,000 (£7,000) match bonus that they had each been promised.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is desperately looking to raise the money to avert a pay strike.

“My player [Ahmed Musa] couldn’t attend the press conference today because they have a very important meeting,” coach Gernot Rohr told a press conference on Tuesday.

“I just hope the situation can be resolved so we can focus on what we have in front of us.

“I know the players are physically ready despite all the illness and injury, but mentally this situation for the meeting is not necessary,” he added.

The financially-stricken NFF relies on funding from the government and has consistently denied that it was responsible for the delay in the payment of the players’ bonuses.

The BBC understands that the team, which has been together since early June, had received verbal assurances that they will be paid before the tournament kicked off in Egypt. However, a week has passed without a single penny being paid out to anyone.

Pay rows have often hit Nigerian teams. Coaches have not been paid regularly, while players have previously boycotted training during important qualifiers or at major tournaments over unpaid bonuses.

Their 2014 World Cup campaign was affected by a bonus row, with players boycotting training before the round of 16 fixture against France.

Nigeria’s women’s team – the Super Falcons – have twice been involved in sit-in protests at hotels in South Africa and Abuja to demand money owed to them.

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