Stephen Keshi, was so incensed by the players’ attitude that he threatened to decamp anybody who failed to be in the team’s bus by 1.00 p.m. for the journey to Brasilia.
The Eagles left Campinas for Brasilia yesterday. The source, however, said that the NFF was perplexed at the events in the Eagles’ camp since Keshi became the chief coach.
”It is on record that NFF always strives to settle players’ entitlements since the current Maigari administration,” he said, adding that, “it is also on record that the first major players’ revolt in the Eagles’ camp in their tenure happened during Keshi’s watch. That was just before the Brazil 2013 Confederations Cup.
”That makes one wonder who is actually behind this,” the source said.
Nigeria, have unfortunately, joined two other African countries, Cameroon and Ghana in the dark alley of holding their countries to the jugular as the players failed to train on Thursday ahead of their second round match against France on Monday in Brasilia.
Cameroon and Ghana who did similar thing have been booted out of the World Cup after winning their financial battles with their countries.
The players boycotted their scheduled training in protest, demanding for World Cup appearance fee and threatening not to file out against France on Monday.
The demand of the players is 30 per cent of the proceed the Nigeria Football Federation is expecting from FIFA, which is the agreement reached with the football body. FIFA pays World Cup finalists up to $8m. An advance of $1m is usually made for the federations to prepare their teams.
However, the Technical Committee Chairman of the NFF, Chris Green, said it was unfortunate that the players took such position when the money from FIFA was yet to be received.
Green said, “The demand of the players is unreasonable, it is also unthinkable. NFF is not owing them in any way at all. We paid $5,000 for the draw against Iran, paid $10,000 for the win against Bosnia-Herzegovina and paid another $5,000 to them despite losing to Argentina just to motivate them.
“The appearance fee they are asking for cannot be paid now. We agreed that they will get it after FIFA must have paid the money.
They are asking for 30 per cent of the money if they get to the last 16. We are in that stage but the event is still on. We could be in the last eight “We are expecting FIFA to also deduct our feeding, accommodation and transport expenses at the World Cup from the money.
“In 2010, FIFA eventually gave us $6.4m out of the $8m grant. This time, we cannot get up to that because we are playing more games here in Brazil and the logistics of travelling here are so huge.”
Green however stressed that the matter would be resolved and the team would get back to training in Brasilia.
“This is the biggest stage in football. I can assure Nigerians that the players will file out against France and this money issue will not affect their performance. They are professionals and they are also playing for their respective careers”.
Senate President David Mark was said to have discussed the problem in Eagles with President Jonathan who directed that the matter be resolved quickly. Sports Minister Danagogo Tamuno, we gathered, will fly out to Brazil tomorrow to settle the problem on the President’s directive.
France Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said that “Maracana is a beautiful stadium and there was a lovely atmosphere. Supporters were present. It’s nice to see the blue in the stands. Hopefully we will return here after the match against Nigeria”
July 4th is the day that the quarterfinal will hold and Le Blues are busy preparing for their game against the African champions, who alongside Algeria, are the two surviving African teams left in the tournament.
“This is a team that projects forward quickly with fast forwards”, said Lucas Digne, who added that “we must be vigilant against Nigeria.”
Also speaking, Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud said that “Nigeria still held their own against Argentina. Our match with them is going to be a big physical one”.
Mathieu Valbuena said Les Blues would face “ a pretty tough, athletic and physical team that put a lot of shots at goal “
His team mate at Lille, Vincent Enyeama is back on the lips of Les Blues.
Digne described the Nigerian goalie as a “warm fellow.”
Lloris and Rémy added that Enyeama is”a very good goalkeeper. But he has his weaknesses, which we know”
The name of Osaze Odemwingie, who also played for the LOSC also came up.
“I know him by name, I took pictures with him.”, said Mamadou Sakho.
Not worried about the idea of playing this game at 13hrs local time, an unusual time for them, Les Blues promised to adapt to the weather conditions.
“We will adapt, no problem”, said Sakho..
Didier Deschamps’ side also admitted that their margin of error is now zero.
“Now it is knockout,” recalled Valbuena and Matuidi.
“There is a possibility for it to be our last game. We will give everything to beat Nigeria”, said Lloris.