Nigeria sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi has set up a committee to investigate the major reasons behind the Super Eagles’ bonus crisis that ensued in Windhoek, Namibia shortly after the 2014 World Cup qualifying match in June.
The Nigeria Football Federation had offered to pay $5000 for a win and $2500 for a draw, but the players insisted on getting $10,000 for a win and $5000 for a draw. The stalemate was broken by the intervention of the minister who got additional funds to make up for the shortfall complaint of the NFF.
In order to unravel the major cause of the action of the players which was an embarrassment to the nation and to prevent such occurrence in future, a seven-man committee was inaugurated by the minister in Abuja on Thursday.
The panel is headed by Olusegun Adeniyi, chairman of Thisday Editorial Board who was also a member of the Presidential Task Force which was set up to ensure Nigeria’s qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
Other members of the panel are Onochie Anibeze (Group Sports Editor, Vanguard), Female football stakeholder, Aisha Falode, Shehu Dikko who is also a member of the League Management Company will serve as the secretary, Akin Oshuntokun, a former managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria, former midfielder Garba Lawal and Honourable Abdulkadri Maman Nasir.
The Minister gave the committee terms of reference include:
a. Determine the immediate and remote causes of the crisis over the match bonus that happened recently in Namibia and make appropriate recommendations in that regard.
b. This Panel will also be expected to develop a code of conduct for players on national assignments
c. Given the background and the concern that this has generated the Panel is expected to give any other recommendations that may be deemed necessary towards finding a lasting solution to the problems that have been identified.
The minister also gave the Panel two weeks to submit its report to him. He said “the task would be difficult since it has to do with a contentious issue like sports or football. But we believe that all the members in this Panel are capable of discharging this duty effectively and efficiently because of their pedigree.
The Director General of the National Sports Commission, Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye who spoke earlier confessed that he was shocked to hear what happened in Namibia. He said that Nigeria has a pedigree in the game across the globe and such unfortunate incident should never happen again.
He charged the Panel to work hard and consult widely to find lasting solutions to this embarrassing attitude through their recommendations.
In his reaction, the chairman of the panel Adeniyi thanked the minister and assured him of doing a good job at the end of the two weeks given to the Panel.