Victor Ikpeba on Super Eagles bonus row: The national team is not for making money

The former striker restated his position on the approach of the national team to the fight for match bonus that almost derailed the participation at June's Confederations Cup

Former Nigeria striker Victor Ikpeba has re-echoed his disappointment over the bonus row that almost marred the country’s participation at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Ikpeba told Goal that such shameful acts should never be repeated in the interest of Nigeria that is respected in the comity of football playing nations in the world.

The issue which has generated wide debate prompted the Sports Minister to set up a panel to unravel the major causes and how to eradicate such occurrences in future.

The former Monaco striker refused to shift ground on the issue insisting that the present squad had no moral right and justification to threaten to boycott the Confederations Cup until their bonuses were paid.

“People have been very critical when I first voiced my opinion on this issue saying why didn’t I wait for the panel to conclude their investigations before making comments on the issue. My comment was a personal opinion about the Eagles’ bonus row. If I say money is not important in our lives people will say Victor Ikpeba is not serious. Yes money is important in our lives but when you represent your country, you have love and passion representing your country,” Ikpeba told Goal.

“I remember before we won the (Atlanta 1996) Olympics, about two to three weeks into camping we never had allowances, there was no money in the camp and generally most of us used our own credit cards in renting buses taking us to training sessions. Is that not patriotism,” he asked.

 “But we ended up winning the gold medal of the football event in Atlanta. That is what I am trying to say. Yes you have the right to fight for your bonus but you must travel to honour the next assignment. It is wrong for them not to travel.

“Players should not think they are coming to play for our national team to make money. The objective of the professional players is to make money in their respective club sides. The pride of playing for your country is the most important thing. So whatever you get for playing for your country you should take it. That is what I am saying.

“Without Nigeria giving those players the opportunity to play in the national team, most of them wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to play for the clubs [overseas],” Ikpeba said..