The almost-traditional and recurring Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) financial crisis that occurs every major international championship when it comes to paying officials and players, may have been resolved, at least in part, in advance of the Brazil World Cup.
The NFF has said it will pay coach Stephen Keshi (pictured) and his staff the four months salary currently outstanding today. The federation also said that it has made arrangements to pay salaries three months in advance for coaching team – up to end June and the conclusion of the World Cup.
The announcement was made by the chairman, media committee of the Federation, Emeka Inyama, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Inyama said that the mandate for the payment of wages had been signed and was being processed.
The NFF has frequently found it difficult to pay coaching staff, and often its players, which has lead to much friction between the squad and the federation. Even to the degree where a player strike has been threatened.
Nigerian players refused to travel to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil until they had received payments, and only travelled once FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke intervened, arriving just a few days before their first match.
The NFF said that the reason they were paying back wages and money in advance was to enable the Nigerian coaching team to focus on preparation for the World Cup – “to avoid distraction”.
The federation said that it would also pay outstanding wages to coaches who were no longer with the federation.
Delay in payments was blamed on money being released by the Federal Government having made it into the NFF accounts due to internal government “processes”.
This is not the first time the government has stepped in to allocate additional funds to pay coaching staff. Last year the national team coaches at one point were owed seven months salary. The government released extra funds to pay them after the former sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, became involved.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi travelled to Afcon 2013 in South Africa having been paid three months wages in advance.