President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, has blamed the coronavirus pandemic and the financial challenges the public health crises brought on the national team’s sponsors for the body’s failure to pay the salaries of the Super Eagles’ coaches.
The poor financial position of the NFF has forced the federation to owe Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr five months salaries.
Goalkeeper trainer Alloy Agu is also demanding over 22-months of unpaid wages while national team players have a backlog of unpaid bonuses and allowances.
Aiteo Group has been the official optimum partner of the NFF since splashing a whopping sum of N2.5billion on Nigerian football in a 5-year partnership deal in April 2017.
The foremost energy solutions company has been responsible for the payment of the Super Eagles coaches’ salaries but, like others worldwide, have been hit by the outbreak of the COVID-19.
Pinnick is saddened by the unhealthy situation which arises when the body he heads owes key stakeholders their entitlements.
However, the ambitious former Delta FA chairman has revealed that the Nigerian government is on the verge of releasing the funds to help settle part of the huge debt.
“With the pandemic and challenges facing oil companies, things have been tough for our sponsors Aiteo, who are responsible for the payment of coaches,” Pinnick told BBC.
“But we’ve moved to pay Alloy [Agu] nine months of his wages from what we have left and coach Gernot too will be sorted. We don’t want to owe, and that is the mentality in which I came into the NFF.
“There are circumstances beyond our control. It is not a good thing to owe, and we don’t like the image it creates.
“We are looking at every means not to owe. The toxic atmosphere has really affected our sponsorship drive, but we can’t give excuses.
“We are working religiously and assiduously to resolve this as soon as possible.”
The Nigerian national team meet again in March ahead of two African Cup of Nations qualifying games against the Benin Republic and Lesotho.