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Nigeria football in $8.2 million deal to pay national coaches

Lagos (AFP) – The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Wednesday signed a five-year deal worth $8.2 million (7.5 million euros) with an oil and gas firm to pay its national team coaches.

The contract with energy conglomerate Aiteo is worth 500 million naira ($1.6 million, 1.5 million euros) a year with an option of a year’s extension, the parties disclosed at an event in Lagos.

NFF communications chief Ademola Olajire called the deal the “long-awaited injection of funds the NFF has earnestly yearned for” and said it marked “a new chapter” in the national game.

Non-payment of salaries has been a repeated problem for coaches of the Super Eagles, as well as other national sides, while players have also threatened to strike because of unpaid allowances.

Current manager Gernot Rohr, who reportedly is on $47,000 a month, is owed three months’ pay, AFP understands.

The NFF, which is government-funded, has complained of poor finances and struggles due to lack of private sponsorship.

In November 2013, the then-president Goodluck Jonathan stepped in to guarantee the salary of the team’s manager at the time, Stephen Keshi, who had not been paid for five months.

Keshi and his assistants were owed 78 million naira — at the time worth $485,000 or 357,000 euros.

In December last year, the national women’s team, the Super Falcons, staged a two-week protest in Abuja before their bonuses for winning the women’s Africa Cup of Nations were paid.

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