The Ministry of Sports/National Sports Commission has secured a grant of N280m on behalf of the Nigeria Football Federation to pay the salary arrears of national football coaches. A major share of the money will go to Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi and the former coach of the Flying Eagles John Obuh.
An aide of the sports minister who spoke with The PUNCH on Monday said the funds released to the NFF was a one-off arrangement made to save the country from further embarrassment over national coaches’ salaries.
He said, “The NFF members made a lengthy presentation on the problems when the minister stepped into the matter. From what was said and what the minister discovered, the sensible way out for now was to get the government to intervene and the salaries paid. It had become quite disturbing in a year like this when the country won virtually everything possible in football.
“I believe that going further we have all learnt some lesson from the situation and how we got into the mess and so there should not be reason to plunge back into this kind of crisis any more. This is a grant, but I am not sure if it can be available again. This has just been treated as a special case.”
MTNFootball.com reports that N280m was approved by President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday.
“The amount also includes the outstanding salaries owed former Flying Eagles coach John Obuh.”
Obuh’s unpaid salaries are put at over N25m and date back to 2010. This year, the Enugu Rangers coach petitioned the senate over his unpaid salaries after heated disagreement with the NFF over the matter. Keshi’s case hit the headlines when he made public his salary issue just before Nigeria played Kenya in Calabar last month in the last game leading to Brazil 2014 World Cup. Shortly afterwards, the NFF officials announced that they had settled a part of it but did not elaborate on how much was paid out of the seven months owed.
The PUNCH checks showed that the problem began for the NFF following the inability of one of their major partners to pay up their sponsorship agreement. The company is said to owe the NFF about N170m as part of the fees for being sponsors of the national teams.
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