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Super-Eagles       The Super Eagles of Nigeria have landed safely in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the World Cup after settling the rift with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) over match bonuses. The Super Eagles led by captain Joseph Yobo and coach, Stephen Keshi arrived in Sao Paulo at 8pm local time (2am Wednesday in Nigeria) without Ejike Uzoenyi, whose club side Rangers International of Enugu have refused to release him for the tournament pending a notice from NFF or FIFA.  They were received by embassy officials led by Salau Bello. There was a scare earlier this week when rumours circulated over a fall-out between the Super Eagles and Nigeria’s football governing body, NFF over bonuses for the 2014 World Cup. The players had demanded for an extra appearance fee, aside the match bonus already announced by NFF for the 2014 World Cup which starts at $10,000-a-man for a first round win against Iran, Argentina and Bosnia. However, following a meeting between NFF and the Super Eagles (represented by Mikel Obi and Joseph Yobo), Yobo insisted the boys are satisfied with NFF’s proposal. According to Vanguard Newspaper, Yobo described the meeting as “peaceful and normal as players need to demand for their rights.” “That’s very true. I haven’t been around for a while. When I came, I heard about several issues that were going on. I have to make sure my players are happy. I am the captain of the national team and if the players are not happy, there is no way I can be happy.” he said. Yobo, who is chasing his 100-cap for the Super Eagles, insisted the meeting was necessary to ensure a good display from the boys at the World Cup finals. He, however, expressed disappointment at the leakage of the details of the meeting to the press. “This was a very peaceful and quiet meeting. I am very disappointed that it came out in the media because it was very peaceful and everybody was very happy about it,” he said.   “You can’t deprive players from asking for their rights. This is normal. We play for our country and there are certain things that the players are entitled to. As the captain of this team, I am privileged and proud and honoured to represent my country. The players are all happy and they know the task ahead. Like I said, there was a meeting and the meeting will still continue. There’s no problem. We just need to agree on what we want to do. We are ready to play for Nigeria and we don’t represent our country because of money,” he said.   Nigeria has been embroiled in pre-tournament disputes in the past. In 1998, the Super Eagles had a similar fight which required lengthy meetings between both parties to get the issue resolved. Nigeria almost missed out on the Confederations Cup last year after the players refused to board the plane to Brazil for the tournament, engaging in demonstrations over unpaid bonuses. The presidency had to step in and act as the pacifier between both parties thereby introducing a code of conduct for the players. Nigeria is set to pocket a whopping $9 million for participating in the first round of the 2014 World Cup and they will definitely earn more if they progress to the latter stages of the competition. It has been reported that each Super Eagles player earned an appearance fee of $3,000 for their pre-World Cup friendlies against Ireland, Greece and the United States.  

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This article was first published on 11th June 2014


Arinze Ude is a PhD Student at the University of the West of England Bristol, UK, where he's exploring on the mechanisms of donor cell leukaemia. He shares his deep thoughts on his blog and the Naked Convos. He is keen to promote personal development of the Nigerian youth via thought-provoking articles.

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