By Tony Ubani
AT a time like this when Nigerians are still agonising over the annoying 2-2 draw the Super Eagles played against Tunisia that has placed Nigeriaâ€™s chances of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in a cliff hanger, the Super Eagles enjoyed their winning bonus of 10,000 dollars after the draw.
Angry Nigerian fans, who were irked by the poor play of the Eagles, had reacted with stones and bottles but the Eagles still left the stadium richer with their 10,000 dollars.
Sports Vanguard can reveal that Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, reportedly ordered that the players should be paid the winning bonus as a means of boosting their morale for the remaining matches. Ndanusa still believes that with such love shown to them, the Eagles would soar against Mozambique and Kenya to pick the ticket for the World Cup.
What he does not know, however, is that Tunisia would not let such a golden chance to slip to gift Nigeria the opportunity of finishing first. We learnt that the money is to encourage the players.
“I know that there is still chance and hope for Nigeria to pick the ticket.
This is football. Anything can happenâ€, the Minister who was close to tears when his Eagles fumbled and wobbled to allow the North Africans equalise three minutes to the end of the game said. In the first leg in Tunis where the Eagles drew, the players were also paid 10,000 dollars with the hope of motivating them to beat the Tunisians in Nigeria.
It was outrageous to see that the officials have maintained the habit of encouraging and rewarding failure instead of punishing them.
â€œIt is not the end of the road. WeÂ want to encourage the boys and hope that Tunisia give up the advantageâ€, the Minister insisted on our hotline.