Super Eagles training boycott on Thursday has paid off for the players as the Federal Government immediately sent down $3,850, 000m (three million, eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars) to the players in Brazil.
The Minister of Sports Dr. Tamuno Danagogo, is expected to arrive in Brasilia just in time before Nigeria face France in a second round game.
SUNDAY PUNCH confirmed from a sports ministry official that President Goodluck Jonathan approved the payment after speaking with Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi and team captain Joseph Yobo via the telephone late on Thursday. He said that Danagogo was already confirmed to arrive in Brazil aboard a Sunday flight from Lagos.
He said, “I am aware that he already has received all the necessary papers to carry such amount of cash and the protocol team is set to receive him at the airport on Sunday. The players will receive the money on arrival or first thing on Monday before the match.”
Our correspondent also learnt that the money is $250,000 above what the Nigeria Football Federation had calculated and agreed with the players. The NFF had said they would pay them as soon as FIFA paid them. The money is usually paid to countries four months after the World Cup.
The Eagles had met with the NFF in their US camp, pressing for the money. It was learnt that goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide and Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi have been at the forefront of the fight for the cash the players called appearance fees.
It was the same players that led the strike on Thursday which forced the entire team to miss the training session on Thursday and Friday morning at their base in Campinas.
The Senate President David Mark had mediated when he visited Brazil and had assured the players he would raise the matter with President Jonathan. But team captain, Joseph Yobo, insisted the players got the money before the opening game against Iran.
SUNDAY PUNCH confirmed that the Federal Government took the decision to bring the money to Brazil without the knowledge of the NFF.
The scene iN Brazil is playing out like that of France ’98, where the Eagles held nearly an all night meeting with the Federation on advance payment before theIR second round match against Denmark, which they eventually lost by 4-1.