In what looks like a repeat of the bizarre crisis that hit the Ghana Black Stars camp in Brazil, Nigeria’s Super Eagles have missed a scheduled training session over unpaid bonuses.
Reports say the players are claiming they have each been shortchanged by $15,000 of what they were expecting for reaching the Round-of- 16 at the mundial.
They thus refused to train in their base in Campinas on Thursday forcing Coach Stephen Keshi and his technical team to call off training for the day.
It appears the problem lies in the interpretation of the bonus structure. The players believe they will only receive $10,000 for their win 1-0 over Bosnia-Hercegovina and $5,000 for the 0-0 draw with Iran. They explained their understanding was that they would receive a $30,000 payment for qualifying from the group.
However, it is believed the Nigerian Football Federation’s offer to the players includes the agreed win and draw bonuses plus 30% of the prize money due from FIFA for reaching the knockout stage.
This is understood to rise to 40% of the prize money from FIFA if Nigeria were to win their round of 16 match, 50% for a quarter-final victory, 60% for a win in the semi-final stage and 70% for lifting the trophy.
While all parties work to find a resolution to the misunderstanding, coach Stephen Keshi has insisted it will not affect the team’s performance.
It has also been confirmed that the players have agreed to travel to Brasilia as scheduled and will train in the evening and over the weekend.
Nigeria are scheduled to play France in the knockout stages on Monday having finished as runners-up in Group F.