The Minister of Sports Dr. Tammy Danagogo has waded into the crisis between the Super Eagles and the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over the world football governing body’s $8 million allocation to the federation.
The players had protested to the NFF chairman, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, in the United States (US) demanding their own share of the money and threatening that should the federation refuse to pay them the money, they were not going to play in the opening match of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But the NFF, it was gathered, claimed that they have only received $1 million from FIFA out of the $8 million with which they have been organizing friendlies and pre-world cup preparations.
It was also gathered that in addition to the FIFA $1 million, the Federal Government has made available to the NFF, N850 million out of the N1.4 billion total budget for the tournament.
In a meeting held between Dr. Danagogo and Alhaji Maigari, at the Maksoud Plaza Hotel, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Monday evening, the minister charged the NNF boss to negotiate with the team to be able to reach an agreement so that the players’ moral would be boosted during the tournament.
The minister was of the view that the welfare of the team should be paramount during the tournament adding that ” if we do not treat them well and make them happy, they may just go into the tournament and perform badly and ensure that we pack our bags and return. So they are the reasons why Nigeria is participating in the tournament and we should do everything within our powers to ensure that we do our best for the team”.
He pledged to also personally appeal to the players to put the interests of the nation first during the tournament.
Meanwhile, Dr. Danagogo and Alhaji Maigari would be on ground to receive the Super Eagles team on arrival from Miami, United States (US), in Sao Paulo, on Tuesday by 8.30pm local time.
The team is expected to fly aboard an American Airline flight from the Miami International Airport and land at the Guarulhos International Airport, Sao Paulo.
On arrival, the team is expected to drive by road to their training ground in Campinas, about an hour from Sao Paulo.
The Super Eagles will play Iran in its World Cup opening match on June 16 before playing Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 21 and Argentina June 26.