By Tony Ubani
ANGRY Nigerians poured scorn on the Minister and Chairman of National Sports Commission, NSC, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, yesterday over his decision to pay Green Eagles players $10,000 winning bonus after their annoying 2-2 with the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia on Sunday in Abuja.
The Eagles squandered the chance of beating the Tunisians and going top of their Group B to enhance their chances of qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa. Instead, they brought pain and agony to millions of Nigerians with their under par performance. And just as Nigerians continue to mourn, Ndanusa seemed to be encouraging failure by paying the Eagles a winning bonus of $10,000.
The Minister defended his decision saying that his gesture was meant to encourage the team and ginger them to win their remaining two matches against Mozambique and Kenya. He insisted that it was not yet over for the Eagles to qualify for the World Cup. Former member of the Technical Committee of NFF, Barrister Dudu Orumen said the Minister should refund the money.
â€œIt smacks of un-seriousness and amounts toÂ rewarding failure. Those Eagles do not deserve a dime. Are we paying them for the heart-break they caused Nigerians or rewarding them for not knowing what to do with money? The Minister should refund the moneyâ€, Dudu who resigned from the Technical Committee of the NFF because of their un-seriousness said. He was not alone.
Former image maker of the NFA, Austin Mgbolu said he was at a loss on what the Minister wanted to achieve. â€œI agree that players should be motivated but not after a calamitous outing like the one we saw them play on Sunday. The time for this motivation is wrong and will send the wrong messageâ€, Mgbolu said.
Donatus Okechi Nwachukwu, an enthusiast,Â was so angry that he asked how many Nigerians get paid $10,000 dollars in a month. â€œSchools are on strike, Power Holding Company, PHC, are on strike, and even those elected to represent the masses are on strike.
Nothing works. This decision to pay $10,000 dollars shows that we honour mediocrity. It is annoying and it makes me to weep for this countryâ€, Nwachukwu said. Many other Nigerians called to condemn the decision. It was not the first timeÂ the Eagles were paid bonus for a match they did not win. In the draw in Rades, Tunisia, they were also paid a winning bonus.