With Nigeria’s Super Eagles preparing for a crunch Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying double-header against the Central African Republic, it has been revealed that the team’s Franco-German coach Gernot Rohr has not been paid his salary for eight months.
In a post by renowned sports journalist Oluwashina Okeleji via his Twitter account, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) owe Rohr, who has been in charge of the Super Eagles since 2016, for the past eight months.
In a viral interview some months ago, Glasgow Rangers ace Leon Balogun bemoaned the state of the nation’s football affairs as he complained bitterly about the lack of regular remuneration for the players, who were owed bonuses for almost two years at the time.
Since then, the NFF has secured and signed mega endorsement deals with telecommunications giant MTN, Air Peace, and Baba Ijebu Lotto. The deal with MTN alone was said to be worth around 500 million Naira.
In the immediate aftermath of these deals, NFF president Amaju Pinnick spoke to the media, revealing that the backlog of salaries and unpaid match bonuses for the players had been gradually cleared, and also stated that the Nigeria Football Federation was 85% “self-funding”.
It, therefore, came as a shock to hear of the failure of the federation to pay coach Rohr his $45,000 monthly salary since January 2021. By extension, a number of the national team staff whose salaries are paid for by Rohr also find themselves in the same position, including the team’s video analyst, scout, goalkeeper trainer, fitness trainer and several others.
Rohr has qualified the Super Eagles for three major tournaments since his appointment, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2019 African Cup of Nations and the 2021 African Cup of Nations. The 68-year-old coach will look to secure qualification for his fourth major tournament against the Central African Republic.
Rohr and his Super Eagles will be without stars Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Terem Moffi for the two games against CAR, with the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi and Calvin Bassey receiving their maiden call-ups to the national team squad.
Twenty-two of the invited players have arrived at the team’s camp in Lagos, with goalkeeper Maduka Okoye the last player expected in camp ahead of their first training session.