Friendly matches: World Cup draw halts Eagles plans
The Nigeria Football Federation has halted talks with the European and South American football associations seeking to play warm-up matches with the Super Eagles to prepare their teams ahead of next year’s World Cup in Russia.
World Cup-bound England, Serbia and Peru are among the Russia 2018 teams reportedly interested in playing Nigeria.
And our correspondent learnt the NFF had been locked in talks with some of the countries as they seek more quality friendly games for the Eagles after the Argentina fixture, which Nigeria won 4-2 in Krasnodar, Russia, on November 14.
England, who are sure to draw an African team at the December 1 World Cup draw in Moscow, are reportedly reads to seal a date with the Eagles as they are not likely to be drawn together judging from the draw pots.
Spokesman for the NFF Ademola Olajire, who said there is the possibility the Eagles would face the Three Lions in a friendly affair before the World Cup, however said the Russia 2018 draw would determine the teams the Eagles would play as part of their preparations for the football’s showpiece.
Olajire said they had plans to secure at least friendly encounters for the three-time African champions, who will be making their sixth World Cup appearance in Russia, before the tournament.
“We are not discussing with any country about any friendly match,” the football chief told our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday.
“The World Cup draw with decide the friendly matches the Eagles will play and we have our plans.
“England is a possibility, it depends on the World Cup draw.”
Olajire dismissed reports the NFF proposed to the Eagles to pay each player a win bonus based on the minutes they played during the World Cup qualifiers.
Nigeria captain Mikel Obi was said to have led the rest of the team to protest the move as they believed it would deny the players who were called up but never got to play the opportunity to benefit from the bonus. The NFF reportedly agreed to give the team $3m qualifying bonus for the World Cup according to their call-ups and appearances.
But Olajire said, “The NFF agreed to give the team $2,4m out of the $8m we are expecting from FIFA. It’s not our business how the players share the money. There was nothing like playing each player per minute as reported.” Punch