Super Eagles in Egypt at 2019 AFCON. Photo/Twitter/nff
Some Egyptian fans feel the frequent reports of protests by Nigerian players about non-payment of match allowances and bonuses are not doing the African continent any good.
Within the last two months, Nigerian teams taking part in international competitions have protested over alleged non-payment of entitlements by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
From the Flying Eagles’ participation at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, the Super Falcons involvement at the yet to be concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and the Super Eagles’ campaign in the Egypt 2019 AFCON, it has been one squabble over alleged unpaid allowances or another.
At the Cairo Stadium on Wednesday night, where the Pharaohs of Egypt defeated Congo 2-0 to move into the round of 16, the issue of Super Eagles’ protests over unpaid wages was the major topic by some of the fans.
Those who spoke with The Guardian carpeted the Nigerian players for turning their participation at major championships into ‘one competition, one protest.’
“This is becoming too frequent an issue in Nigerian football and I think it is not doing Africa’s image any good,” one of the fans, who identified himself as Ali told The Guardian at the Cairo stadium.
“As a national team player, I think Nigerian players are not behaving well by bring issues of unpaid allowances and bonuses to public domain every time they are on major competitions. There are other countries taking part in the AFCON, and it is only Nigerian players who are crying loud over unpaid match allowances. We had such situations recently with the U-20 (Flying Eagles), who refused to vacate their hotel after crashing out in Poland. It was followed by the Super Falcons in France. Now, we are hearing that your players (Super Eagles) are complaining in their hotel in Alexandra. I believe it is not only Nigeria that has financial problem. Your footballers should think of how to help your nation grow because playing for the national teams help their career as well.”
Ali continues: “Here in Egypt, Mo Salah is not getting much in terms of financial reward from the national team, yet he has built schools and hospitals for the people. He even helped the government in fixing the roads. That is what your players should be emulating, not issues of unpaid bonuses and allowances all the time.”
Another fan, Emerek said: “I am sure your players are always protesting because they feel the officials are making so much money in the football house. In that case, I think the government should try to sanitise the system.
But to be sincere, this issue of protest by your national team players during major competitions is becoming a major embarrassment to Africa.”