Flying Eagles stay back in Poland over unpaid wages
Almost three days after being knocked out of U-20 World Cup, Nigeria’s Flying Eagles team has refused to return to the country.
The U-20 players, who Monday suffered 2-1 lost against Senegal on Monday, are protesting the nonpayment of their allowances and qualification bonus totaling US$5,000 per player.
The squad refused to leave their hotel in Lodz after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) failed to pay the bonus.
They were literally bundled out of the Hotel Ambassador Premium on Tuesday, however, the players headed to Warsaw, Polish capital to protest.
This lead to players and officials missing their scheduled flights to Abuja on Wednesday.
However, two England-based youngsters, Tom Dele-Bashiru playing for Manchester City and Bournemouth’s Nnamdi Ofoborh, have left the rest of the team and have returned to their respective bases.
The NFF has promised the players will be paid on their return to Nigeria but despite the assurances the players remained wary.
“It’s been verbally resolved now and we have arrived in the city of Warsaw,” one of the players told BBC Sport.
“We were promised $2,000 in bonuses and our camp allowance of $100 per day, sadly we never got anything and to think our coaches are being owed wages too.”
The NFF, which receives direct funding from government, has struggled to get approval for the release of funds.
The cash-strapped NFF, which has been forced to seek financial help from sponsors to cater for the various national teams on international assignments, has now had to make alternative flight arrangements for the squads.
Pay rows have often surrounded Nigerian teams, with coaches not paid regularly, while players have previously boycotted training during important qualifiers or at major tournaments over unpaid bonus.
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