By George Aluo, Russia
The soccer federation has to this end resolved to pay the players and their coaches what could pass as a “losing bonus” for the game against Croatia, should they at the end of day, qualify for the second round of the tournament.
This much was disclosed yesterday by NFF first Vice President Seyi Akinwumi in Saint Petersburg.
Akinwumi, a lawyer, said the Amaju led board is ready to do anything that would motivate the boys to fire on all cylinders and go far in Russia.
“We have reached a new agreement with the players. We are doing everything possible to motivate them. What we have resolved now is that if they qualify for the second round, they will get their full bonus. Our agreement with them was that they would get their entire money for the group phase once they qualify; it is not a match-by-match basis. So, they are aware that if they win the remaining matches or just achieve the minimum to qualify from the group, they will still earn the money for all three matches.”
Akinwunmi praised Sports and Youth Development Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung for rallying Nigerians behind the team and staying behind in Russia to support the team in the remaining matches.
“We cannot fully express our appreciation to the Sports Minister, who has called on Nigerians to keep supporting the team and personally expressed belief in the team’s ability to reach the knockout rounds. We still have him with us here in Russia and he will lead the delegation to the match against Iceland in Volgograd.
“The Sports Minister led a Federal Government to Russia and led the delegation to Kaliningrad for the first match. Alongside, the Nigeria Ambassador, Professor Steve Davies Ugbah, he called President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to talk to the team before the match. Government support is total for the team, and motivation is huge, so they have no reason not to go all out on Friday.”
Barrister Dalung also greatly inspired the Eagles during the qualifying race, personally leading the delegation to the matches in Zambia and Cameroon and being also on ground in Uyo for all the home matches against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
“It is now left for the team to go all out and give Nigerians joy by winning their remaining games,” Akinwunmi added.
He also disclosed that the Eagles will depart their Essentuki team base camp in the Stavropol region of Russia to Volgograd on Thursday, ahead of Friday evening’s clash.