Photo: Nigeria celebrating being African Cup of Nations Champions (FIFA.COM)
Nigeria is the latest African country to be afflicted by the World Cup “money bug”. The Cameroon team refused to board the plane for Brazil before issues regarding player bonuses were sorted out. The Ghana team refused to train during the tournament until appearance fees owed to them were paid and now both those teams are heading home, having failed to make it out of the group stages.
With all the teams for the Round of 16 now decided, the situation has now surfaced in the Nigerian camp. The players refused to train in Campinas on Thursday which led to the cancellation of scheduled session.
The players are at loggerheads with the Federation about bonuses, believing they are all $15,000 short in the pocket, for getting to this stage of the competition.
The Group F runners-up will face former champions and Group E winners France on Monday having not been this far in the competition since 1998. Nigeria failed to progress beyond the group stages in 2002 and 2010 and failed to qualify for the 2006 edition in Germany.
Head coach Stephen Keshi believes the incident will not affect the performance of the Super Eagles against Les Blues and it is quite certain that the Nigerian team will have to be switched on against a team that has already scored eight goals in the competition.
Only a year ago, the Nigerian team arrived late in Brazil for the Confederations Cup and money was the epicentre of the problem on that occasion as well.