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Nigerian Football

NFF MOVES TO AVERT BONUS ROW AT WORLD CUP

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The usual bonus row that has characterised Nigeria’s participation at the World Cup may not occur at Russia 2018 if the moves of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yields result.

Before the Nigeria’s 4-2 defeat of Argentina on Tuesday, the NFF and the Super Eagles’ players signed a landmark agreement ahead of the World Cup.

According to a media release by the NFF, an  historic and binding agreement that will eliminate all manner of rancour and distractions around Nigeria’s preparation and participation at the 21st FIFA World Cup finals in Russia was signed in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Tuesday morning. The meeting to prepare the agreement was held on Sunday night in the same city.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick, Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi and Technical and Development Committee chairman Yusuf Ahmed Fresh represented the NFF, while Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr, Chief Coach Salisu Yusuf, Team Administrator Enebi Achor and Captain Mikel John Obi, Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo and William Ekong stood in for the team.

Before the meeting, Pinnick, who made an impressive remark at the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour that made a stop in Krasnodar on Tuesday, told thenff.com that the NFF was determined to, with the single agreement, put behind it all the crises and confrontations that had bedevilled African teams’ participation at the FIFA World Cup in the past.

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At the end, NFF 2nd Vice President/Chairman of Strategic Committee Shehu Dikko confirmed to thenff.com: “We have done it; we have concluded negotiations and come to agreement with the team as regards bonuses, allowances and share of income from FIFA for the 2018 World Cup. Every detail has been agreed on match bonus for each match and each round up to the Final as well as share of income from FIFA money for each round until the stage we are able to get to at the finals.

“We also agreed on preparation, such as how much players will be paid for the friendly matches, including how and when the monies would be paid. We even delved into how the NFF would apply the funds due to it from FIFA after paying the players their share.”

Pinnick and Sanusi signed for the NFF while Gernot Rohr and Salisu Yusuf signed for the technical crew and Captain Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa signed for the players.

“The agreement represents the full and final understanding between the NFF and the team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and not subject to review or negotiations, except there is a review by FIFA of what it has approved and published as prize money for the participating countries.

 

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“We have opted for this international best practice in order to fully motivate the team and ensure there are no distractions or discontent before and during the tournament,” Dikko added.

It is the first time in the history of Nigeria’s participation in international championships that a formal agreement between the Federation and the team is documented, and the major actors see this as a catalyst for the Super Eagles’ best performance ever at the FIFA World Cup. It can also be recalled that the NFF ensured there was no distraction over bonuses and allowances for the team during the qualifying campaign, with the Super Eagles easily dominating a so –called ‘Group of Death.’

“We are very happy and excited with this development. This is the first time since I started playing for the senior team that I would see everything regarding preparation and bonuses and allowances put down in black and white and a binding agreement executed.

It is reassuring that we now have a Federation leadership so committed to making everything work that they arranged this meeting and allowed the players to contribute and then set out to sign the agreement,” Captain Mikel Obi said.

It would be recalled that at the last FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, the Super Eagles missed a training session in protest over bonuses and allowances and share of the income from FIFA, forcing the Federal Government to dispatch then Sports Minister Tammy Danagogo to Brazil with millions of dollars in cash.

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A similar situation played out in the camp of Ghana’s Black Stars, and back in 2006, the camp of the Togolese National Team was torn by disputes over bonuses and allowances.

Pinnick later told thenff.com: “We communicated the Honourable Minister of Sports on the negotiations and he endorsed the agreement on behalf of the Government. He also applauded the NFF for the bold step to sort out all issues that could militate against Nigeria having a great outing at the World Cup finals in Russia next year.”

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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