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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Nigeria's Super Eagles warned about World Cup pay strike

Gernot Rohr does not want a repeat of protests over pay from last finals in Brazil

Gernot Rohr, right, said he is convinced Nigeria can go beyond the last 16 for the first time by preparing well in advance. Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP
Gernot Rohr, right, said he is convinced Nigeria can go beyond the last 16 for the first time by preparing well in advance. Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr has warned his players that their performances at next year's World Cup will be affected if there is any repeat of protests over pay and bonuses.

At the last finals in Brazil three years ago, the Super Eagles deliberately missed a training session in protest at the non-payment of a bonus for qualifying.

That forced the country's then sports minister to charter a private jet and fly to South America with nearly US$4 million (Dh14.6m) in cash.

Rohr said he is convinced that Nigeria can go beyond the last 16 for the first time by preparing well in advance.

"The issue of bonuses and allowances, which are the usual African problem we see during the World Cup, must be avoided," he said, however. "Such issue will be bad for our preparation. I have told my officials and the federation president that all [such issues] be cleared before the start of the competition."

Nigeria were not the only team to be hit by money troubles in 2014: Ghana's players demanded that more than $3m in bonuses was flown to Brazil.

The revelation was a major embarrassment for the government at the time, which was battling spiralling inflation and the decrease in value of the country's currency.

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Nigeria's women's team, the Super Falcons, last December staged a protest march to parliament to demand payment of bonuses for winning the African Women Cup of Nations.

That followed a two-week sit-in at their Abuja hotel. The government later agreed to release more than $1m.

The Nigerian men's team is in line for a $12.5m bonus from football's world governing body Fifa for qualifying for the finals in Russia.

All 37 players used in qualifying are entitled to a share.

Squad members at the finals stand to earn more if they match or better the national side's performances in 1994 and 2014 by reaching the knockout stages.

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