African World Cup-bound teams have received a major boost after Fifa agreed to advance each of the five countries US$2 million ahead of the quadrennial global football fiesta which kicks off in Russia next month.
The previous Fifa World Cup edition staged in Brazil saw the Ghana and Cameroon national teams arguing with their mother associations over bonus payments, subsequently tainting Caf’s image. But the continental football governing body has this time moved in quickly to avert a potential repeat of past events by convincing Fifa for an advance payment of US$2 million each for Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia and Morocco who will represent Africa in Russia.
The money is part of the prize money due to all World Cup participating teams, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Senegal.
“This agreement, for an advance on the financial allocation by Fifa, aims to allow representatives in World Cups to have a harmonious preparation and to settle beforehand the question of bonuses due to the players, which in the previous editions of the competitions has led to situations that affected badly the image of African football, with a considerable impact on team performances,” Caf president Ahmad said.
Caf's move to thwart any potential distractions on the road to Russia throws deep into spotlight African teams who would be bidding to at least reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time ever.