Youth and Sports minister Solomon Dalung has stated that the national U-23 football team were not entitled to receive match bonuses at the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The team, who qualified for the semi-finals after beating Denmark 2-0 on Saturday, had threatened to boycott the quarter-final match against the Danes if their outstanding allowances and the five months salaries owed coach Samson Siasia were not paid.
Dalung said the team’s outstanding camp allowances for 11 days were paid on Saturday.
Dalung stated, “I spoke with the captain of the team Mikel Obi and I explained to him that match bonuses are only paid to players during the World Cup or Africa Cup of Nations but not at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games. This is their first appearance at the Olympics so the players may not know that they don’t pay match bonuses at the Games.
“We have paid all outstanding camp allowances for the Rio Games to the players so we owe them nothing. On Siasia, the federation has admitted that they owe him five months salaries. He was owed before he agreed to take the team to Atlanta, so making it an issue now after qualifying for the quarter-finals is not in the interest of the country. I have appealed to the coach and the players to put the country first before personal interest. All other issues that need to be addressed will definitely be addressed after the Olympics,” the minister said.