RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Nigeria’s World Cup players were each offered a $102,500 incentive to win the World Cup, with the national federation saying it had reached an agreement with the squad over their traditionally troublesome bonus payments.
Nigeria arrived days late for the Confederations Cup in Brazil last year and nearly threw the World Cup warm-up tournament into chaos after the squad, protesting against the slashing of their payments, refused to leave a hotel and travel.
The Nigeria Football Federation said that the latest World Cup bonuses had been sorted out, but only announced it on the eve of Monday’s opening game against Iran.
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Squad members, including Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and Liverpool’s Victor Moses, will get $10,000 each for every group stage win at the World Cup, $12,500 for winning in the round of 16, another $15,000 for winning a quarterfinal, $20,000 for the semifinals and $25,000 for lifting the trophy.
Nigeria hasn’t reached the second round of a World Cup since 1998 and hasn’t won a game in its last two tournaments.
There had been signs of discontent among the African champion’s squad this week and politician David Mark, the president of Nigeria’s senate, visited the squad at its base in the city of Campinas, north of Sao Paulo to mediate.
”The players may have issues but I think they have been settled amicably so let them allow us to play,” coach Stephen Keshi said.
Nigeria opens against Iran in Curitiba and also faces Bosnia and Argentina in Group F.
”We are ready for Iran and that is what is on our minds at the moment,” goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama said in a statement through the NFF. ”Every other thing will be settled after this competition.”
Last weekend, Cameroon’s squad refused to board a plane for the World Cup over a bonus dispute, forcing their federation to take out a loan to ensure players got more money.
FIFA gave each country that qualified for the World Cup $1.5 million to help with preparations. Each team is guaranteed at least $8 million in prize money.
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