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Mild drama as Eagles boycott pre-match conference

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Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr attends a press conference at the Alexandria stadium in Alexandria, northern Egypt, on June 25, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Nigeria and Guinea. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

• We want to remain on top, says Rohr
Journalists covering the on-going African Cup of Nations in Alexandria were stunned yesterday when players of the Super Eagles refused to appear for their pre-match conference. The players were said to be unhappy with the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) delay in paying their winning bonus and some outstanding camp allowance.

Bout some of the journalists present questioned the propriety of such move after their telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised them that all their allowances would be settled soon.

According to a source, the players held a meeting yesterday morning in their camp, in Helnan Palestine Hotels, to decide whether to boycott or honour the game against Guinea.

Addressing journalists yesterday, the Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye stated that the fund needed to pay the players’ allowance got delayed due to logistics hiccup, adding that hopefully before today’s match, everything would be resolved.

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Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ Coach, Gernot Rohr says his team wants to maintain the leadership of Group B after today’s game against Guinea.

The Eagles won their first fixture of the AFCON 1-0 against Burundi to top the group with three points, while Guinea played a 2-2 draw with Madagascar.

Addressing the media yesterday, Rohr said the pressure would be on the Guineans, who will be looking for a good result, admitting that the duel would be a tough battle.

“I think we will be ready because the players are just coming back and coming fit now. The Guineans are the ones under pressure because they have to win this match, but we are in a positive situation as we are on top of the group with three points.

“We want to stay on top of the group and if we win it, we are surely going through and this will be a big motivation for our players. I think this match is the most difficult one because in the Guinean team are players playing for Liverpool, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Napoli, a lot of them being educated in France and with the French philosophy,” he said.

Rohr, who did not have the Eagles with him at the media chat, however, hoped that the players’ resolve would be to honour today’s fixture against the Guineans after their meeting yesterday’s morning.

“I only hope that the situation around the team will be a good one, the one that we need; serenity, and harmony. I hope after the meeting of the players this morning (yesterday) that we can still work,” he said.


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