Article

Nigeria head for Brazil after ending player unrest

14 June 2013 14:39

Nigeria will compete in the FIFA Confederations Cup after the country's sports minister intervened in a row over bonus payments.

The African champions were due to travel to host nation Brazil on Thursday, via a connecting flight from South Africa, but the squad refused to board the plane in protest at a cut in bonuses.

The issue arose following the 1-1 draw against Namibia in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier, when the players were reportedly offered a bonus that equated to only half of what the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had promised.

NFF president Aminu Maigari held talks with the players, explaining the perilous financial position of his organisation, which has already seen the coaching staff cut from 17 members to nine.

Sports minister Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi then stepped in to smooth things over and Nigeria will now take part in the Confederations Cup.

"We are most grateful to the minister for his intervention in the matter, which means the team can now travel to Brazil on Saturday and arrive in Belo Horizonte before the first match against Tahiti on Monday," NFF general secretary Musa Amadu said in a statement.

Amadu also expressed his surprise at the stance taken by the players.

"We are shocked like every Nigerian at the attitude of the players," he added.

"It is incomprehensible because the NFF president and myself sat down with the management of the Super Eagles, including coach Stephen Kesi, to explain why we had to slash the bonus and other measures taken as a result of our financial constraints."

Nigeria line up in Group B along with Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti.

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