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Sports News of Monday, 20 March 2023


NFF bars Shorunmu, Finidi from Eagles camp

Nigeria Football Federation Nigeria Football Federation

The PUNCH has gathered that Super Eagles goalkeepers trainer Ike Shorunmu and assistant coach Finidi George have been told by the Nigeria Football Federation not to join the squad for the 2023 AFCON double-header qualifiers against Guinea Bissau.

It was learnt that the duo were barred from the team’s camp on the request of Portuguese head coach Jose Peseiro and both will not be available for the games against the Bissau Guineans.

With the players and backroom staff expected to start arriving camp on Monday (today) ahead of the game against the Djurtus, Shorunmu told The PUNCH that himself and Finidi had been told to stay away from the camp.

“Finidi called me on Sunday morning asking me if I got a message from the NFF, and I told him I didn’t get any message from them,” Shorunmu said.

“He then told me he a got a message on Saturday night, that he should not bother to come to camp, that they are rotating his position for another coach to stand in. That is (Usman) Abdallah to replace Finidi.

“However, on Sunday afternoon, someone called me from NFF to also inform me that the top officials of the NFF want to inform me that Peseiro doesn’t want to work with me but with the U-20 goalkeeper coach. I had to ask the person if this treatment was as a result of us not having contracts with the NFF, because we had been asking them to give us an official contract and we haven’t been paid.

“I had called Finidi back to inform him about my situation as well. It was so sad that we ended up laughing at each other.”

On May 15, 2022, the NFF, after parting ways with Franco-German Gernot Rohr, appointed Peseiro as the new Eagles head coach, with Finidi named the Portuguese first assistant while Shorunmu was named the goalkeepers trainer, and Abdallah third assistant, while Eboboritse Uwejamomere was named the team’s match analyst.

Efforts by our correspondent to reach the NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire to comment on the issue proved abortive. He didn’t pick our correspondent’s call, while he also didn’t respond to a text message sent to him as at the time of filing this report.

The indigenous members of the Eagles technical crew have been treated poorly by the NFF.

Last month, The PUNCH reported that the indigenous backroom staff were yet to be paid their nine months salaries and allowances and had not been handed contracts nine months after they were hired by the NFF.

While Peseiro, 62, was offered a performance-based one-year contract and will reportedly earn $70,000 (N30m) monthly, Finidi and Shorunmu don’t know how much they will be paid, almost a year after they were ‘employed.’

An affected member of the coaching crew had told The PUNCH in February that they would confront the federation over their contract status during the Guinea Bissau clash.

When we played our match against Sao Tome in Morocco, the NFF told us that because of the election (federation election) that was on the way that they could not pay us. Now that the NFF election has come and gone, the federation is telling us to give them some time. Again, after our match against Portugal they refused to pay us. We will have to wait for our 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea Bissau next month to know if we are still part of the team or not,” our source stated in February.

Last November, journalist Osasu Obayiwana stated on his Twitter handle that the NFF owed Peseiro, who is on $70,000 monthly, six months salary and were to pay him $420,000 in total.

The $70,000 monthly salary covers Peseiro’s three assistants, while the Nigerian coaches attached to the team are on a different pay arrangement, which they are yet to be informed of.