We’ll no longer accept delayed payment, Eagles warn NFF, Sports ministry

Lack of fund threatens 2021 AFCON qualifier
What appears a showdown between players of the Super Eagles and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as well as the supervising sports ministry may be afoot, as the nation prepares for the 2021 AFCON qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone on November 9 in Benin City, Edo State capital.

The match will be the first big event by the national team since all sporting activities were shut down in March due to COVID-19 pandemic. It will also be the first major game at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, which was refurbished for the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival. The stadium is the first to acquire Video Assistant Referee (VAR) gadget, a facility bought by the Edo State government ahead of the 2020 National Sports Festival.

However, the players are said to be singing a discordant turn in the build up to the match, as they have warned both the NFF and the sports ministry to get their camp bonuses, daily allowances, as well as flight ticket refunds ready before their arrival for the game.

A source close to the team told The Guardian, yesterday, that the players have vowed not to accept ‘delayed payment’ any longer.

“The players are saying that their money must be ready before the match against Sierra Leone in Benin City. They have warned that they won’t accept any form of excuse from any quarter,” the source stated.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that the NFF is still looking for the needed fund to prosecute the match against Sierra Leone.

Another source hinted yesterday that the football house has written several letters to the supervising sports ministry seeking release of fund for the Super Eagles versus Leone Stars’ AFCON qualifier.

According to the source, some top officials of the NFF visited the sports ministry in Abuja on Tuesday hoping to get money to send an advance team to Benin City to prepare the ground for the arrival of the players, but left the place disappointed.

The two legged affair was initially scheduled for March 27 and 31 respectively, but it was postponed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first leg will hold on November 9 in Benin City, while the reverse fixture will hold 10 days later in Freetown.

Efforts to speak with NFF officials yesterday were unsuccessful.

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