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Nigeria Goes to FIFA World Cup With No Wage or Sponsorship Disputes for the First Time

Nigeria’s sports teams competing in major tournaments have previously experienced sponsorship problems and unfulfilled wage promises. The Super Eagles have experienced these issues far too many times. However, in 2018, the case is different and there hasn’t been any murmurs of sponsorship and wage disputes, touch wood.

The relationship between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and funding issues or wage disputes goes a long way. The Nigerian squad that won the Under 16 World championship in 1985 were given their reward 30 years later. In Brazil World Cup 2014, the Joseph Yobo led Super Eagles team went on training strike after the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) failed to pay the team its bonus. However, in 2018, the case seems to be different and there hasn’t been any murmurs of sponsorship and wages disputes, touch wood.

John Obi Mikel, the Super Eagles current Captain said, “This is the first time we are going to a competition like this (FIFA World Cup) with no issues of money/bonuses.” Mikel made the statement in the State House where the team met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“All we have to do now is go out there and make Nigeria proud,” he added. Last year the NFF had taken the initiative to engage the players in signing an agreement regarding payments ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Hopefully, the NFF won’t renegade on its duties to the team as the Super Eagles prepare to fly.

History of wage disputes and unfulfilled promises

At the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016 the Nigerian football team faced a difficult time financially owing to the disorganisation of the country’s Ministry of Sports. The team was stuck in Atlanta, USA, a day to their opening match after the airline they were to board to Brazil said payments had not yet reflected. The financial disorganisation was a huge embarrassment to the country which lauds itself as the giant of Africa.

Prior to the Rio Olympics competition, Nigeria’s former player and coach Sunday Oliseh had resigned citing contract violations; lack of support, unpaid wages, a dispute over players’ and coaches’ benefits. Samson Siasia who stepped in and took over the Rio Olympics team did not receive his pay for five months.

The financial hassles faced by the Super Eagles aren’t new to Nigerian football. In 2014, the Super Eagles went on a training strike during the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had promised $10,000 to the team if they won, $5000 for a draw and $2,500 for a defeat. An additional $30,000 was to be given to each player if they reached the knocut phase of the World Cup in Brazil. It took the intervention of the former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan to get the team back to training.

In 1985, Nigeria’s first squad to win the Fifa Under-16 World championship was promised a list of rewards by the then Head of State Gen Buhari who was later ousted. In 2016, the 1985 team were rewarded with $10,000 as promised.

The Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia were promised houses by the government. The squad comprised of the late Stephen Keshi who captained the team to victory. The promise remains unfulfilled. Just like in 1994, so it was in 2013 when Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations. Loads of promises to the team are left hanging.

Preparations for the upcoming Fifa World Cup have gone well smoothly and there hasn’t been any murmurs of sponsorship and wages disputes (touchwood).

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