The 33-year-old called out the Nigerian football authority in a recent interview for lack of infrastructure and non-payment of Super Eagles bonuses
General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Dr Mohammed Sanusi has responded to Leon Balogun’s comments over the non-payment of the Super Eagles bonuses and allowances.
Back in January, President Amaju Pinnick said the NFF is working to pay the players’ outstanding payments and the coaching crew’s salaries which include Gernot Rohr and his goalkeeper coach Alloy Agu.
Sanusi, in his reaction to Balogun on Wednesday, disclosed that they are only owing the Super Eagles bonuses and allowances from their last two matches. Editors’ Picks
“The NFF deserves no joy in owing players and coaches their entitlements,” Sanusi said in a statement. “The same players and coaches have been well taken care of and provided the necessary facilities when things were normal, and as we work assiduously towards conquering the present challenges and seeing sunlight again, we expect the players, coaches and administrative staff to show the same level of understanding that they have been showing over the past 18 months.
“Of course, we are pragmatists and we realize that these things can be frustrating and some people will boil over and talk about them. It is normal. Last month, during the friendlies in Austria, we were able to pay some of the outstanding bonuses and allowances.
“We are working at a pace presently to clear what is remaining. As I speak, we are owing the team bonuses and allowances from only the last two matches, and payments for these two games had been sent to the Central Bank some weeks ago. They will receive the monies shortly. We are equally working to pay the coaches what they are being owed as salaries.
“We have never denied owing the team. Leon is a senior player that everyone respects for his quality output on the pitch and calmness and forbearance off it, but I do not know which reports he was referring to when he said the NFF was contradicting itself.”
The Rangers defender also lamented the poor state of facilities in Nigeria and he claimed that they hinder the discovery of talents.
While defending the idea of changing venues for the Super Eagles, Sanusi gave assurances of the government’s commitment to developing stadiums across the country.
“He also talked about playing pitches. Sincerely speaking, the past few years have seen a remarkable improvement in stadia infrastructure across the country,” he continued.
“The team had to move round the States because the turf of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja got bad. Now, the pitch is coming back to shape thanks to the efforts of the present Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, who got the respected Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s company to work on it.
“Presently, we have exciting venues in Uyo, Benin City, Asaba, Kaduna and Lagos. Without the team moving round the States, the governments of these States probably would not have devoted much effort into putting these facilities in world-standard shape.
“There are remarkable improvements on facilities in Ibadan, the National Stadium in Lagos and a new one in Lagos. All these will benefit the teeming youth population of Nigeria who are interested in sports.”