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Now Nigeria is embroiled in player protests over bonus payments

Jun 27, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT

CUIABA, BRAZIL - JUNE 21: Peter Odemwingie of Nigeria (C) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with teammates during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group F match between Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Arena Pantanal on June 21, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil. Getty Images

Nigeria will travel to play their last 16 match against France as scheduled, however they will do so under a dark cloud as a third African nation has money problems.

Hot on the heels of Ghana and Cameroon’s players complaining about payments not being made to them by their respective football associations, it has emerged that Nigeria’s players did not train on Thursday as they seek bonuses promised to them.

Media officer Ben Alaiya has declined to comment as to exactly why the Super Eagles didn’t train on Thursday, only saying that a team meeting ran on too long.

Nigeria plays France on Monday in Brasilia after making it out of Group F alongside Argentina, however they are facing a similar meltdown to other West African nations, Cameroon and Ghana, who were both knocked out at the group stage. This issue has been rumbling along for a while, as Nigeria arrived late for the Confederations Cup in Brazil last summer after a similar row over player payments as the squad refused to leave the team hotel. Those issues have resurfaced but a statement from the Nigerian Football Federation is stating that there are no problems with the bonuses.

“We understand that some people are playing politics but they must leave us out of it so that we can do well here and go far in the tournament,” coach Stephen Keshi was quoted as saying in the statement.

According to details released, each Nigerian player earned $10,000 for a win in the group stages and will get $12,500 for a win in the knockout rounds.

Look, I understand the players are looking after their own interests and they have to fight for their rights… But what happened to the honor of representing your country at the World Cup?

Do you really need to be paid for playing at the World Cup?

  1. schlom - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    “Do you really need to be paid for playing at the World Cup?”

    If you are promised bonus payments and instead the officials of your federation are stealing it, I’m sure you would be upset too.

  2. convincedofthehex - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    If FIFA is banking hundreds and hundreds of millions putting this on, they yeah, the players do need to be paid. Better them than bribes to refs, event organizers and FIFA officials.

  3. markwh1963 - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    But what happened to the honor of representing your country at the World Cup? Do you really need to be paid for playing at the World Cup?

    Really? With all of the Money that is transacted by FIFA, the Bribes, the kickbacks, the pressuring of local communities to spend money on the event.. And you are questioning the players for standing up for themselves?

    The fact is a lot of people are making lots of money on tricking people into believing that it is an “honor”…

    I am amazed that these federations are run by people that of such low ethics.. An event of this magnitude should NEVER come to this.

  4. Joe Prince-Wright - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Just my opinion but most of, if not all, these players are earning plenty of cash with their club teams.

    I have just never understood the notion of being paid to play for your national team.

    • mikeevergreen - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Sure, but what about players who haven’t made it to the European or America clubs yet, still playing in the domestic leagues where pay isn’t good?

    • paperlions - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:17 AM

      Nearly all of the administrators that are getting rich facilitating the World Cup are already rich, but you don’t see them doing it for free either.

      The talent of the players is generating 100% of the revenue associated with the WC either directly or indirectly, but you think everyone should be paid for their effort EXCEPT the players?

      There are a whole bunch of rich, powerful people around the world that make a living off of other people’s efforts that agree with you.

  5. handsomerob86 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Really, you are giving these guys trouble over a 10k bonus? One, that is nothing compared to what FIFA is making on this, two, they were promised payment, they earned it, and they deserve it. With so much controversy coming out of Africa with the bribes and everything, these guys actually earned money they are due, and people aren’t paying them.

    Its completely ridiculous that you would suggest they not get paid for their work.
    “The worker is worth his wage” 1st Tim 5:18.

  6. egb234 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I love PR hacks.

    “Media officer Ben Alaiya has declined to comment as to exactly why the Super Eagles didn’t train on Thursday, only saying that a team meeting ran on too long.”

    That seems plausible. One thing about soccer is the meetings, right?

  7. spikenyc - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Of course it’s a great honor to represent your country, but in the end, this is a business, and every time a player steps onto the field they risk injury, possibly career ending. Pay them!

  8. mazblast - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    At this point, you’ve probably trained all you can handle. A day of rest may help them more than a day of “training”.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with the current issue, which probably consists of kickbacks and rakeoffs consuming the bonus money due the players.

    My question is, “Whatever happened to the honor of supporting the players who are representing your country in the World Cup?”

  9. bellerophon30 - Jun 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Well Joe, I guess commitment is a one way street for you, but most of us feel differently. Whether WC players should be paid is not the issue here (and I think that they should be, given the money coming in): It’s that an agreement was made between the federation and the players, and the players have certainly lived up to their end. Now it’s time for the suits to live up to theirs.

  10. turneresq - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    So it’s okay for the federations to pocket all of the money made by the players? Outrageous commentary from the author. Just outrageous. Players risk injuries in these games, and not all of them are on huge wages. They should be paid what they were promised.

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