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Sports News of Monday, 6 March 2023


I feel miserable - Super Eagles goalkeeper John Noble admits being sad over unpaid $25,000 bonus, appeals to NFF

John Noble John Noble

The Enyimba goalkeeper has not been paid his bonuses since the last Afcon in Cameroon

Nigeria international John Noble has admitted that he is struggling with depression over his $25,000 unpaid 2021 Africa Cup of Nations bonus, while appealing to the Nigeria Football Federation to do the needful.

Unlike other Super Eagles’ colleagues, the Enyimba goalkeeper – the only Nigeria Professional Football League star in coach Augustine Eguavoen’s squad – is yet to get paid.

A top NFF official had told in October 2022 that money was yet to be approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Nevertheless, the development took a new twist when Noble learnt that the same bank has recently paid the U17 girls, the Super Falcons and other members of the Super Eagles coaching staff to Cameroon.

“I have been battling with depression for months over my unpaid Afcon bonus, but I feel this is the right time to talk about it,” a sobbing Noble told in a no-holds-barred interview.

“I feel miserable knowing that the NFF settled the female national teams’ outstanding bills last month. Honestly, I can’t comprehend what is going on and why I haven’t been paid up till now.

“Maybe someone is holding on to my money or maybe it’s because of something else. That remains a mystery. I feel really bad every day and this gets to me knowing fully well that I worked for this money.

“I have been reaching out to the NFF since last year and all they tell me is ‘hold on’. I have been waiting. I have reached out to the NFF president [Ibrahim Gusau] and those who I know are in charge, but nothing has been done.”

Noble rubbishes Ahmed Musa’s claim

Ahmed Musa, captain of the Nigeria men’s senior national team, tried to exonerate the NFF and told veteran journalist Osasu Obayiuwana that the goalkeeper had submitted a wrong account number as the reason for the delay in Noble’s money being processed.

However, the 29-year-old goalkeeper claims that assertion is wrong, insisting he had never changed his bank details since his maiden call-up.

Noble reiterated: “I have never submitted a wrong account number. This is the same account where I got my Afcon 2021 camp allowances through the secretary.

“Suddenly, it has become a wrong account when it got to the time of getting the big one. My bank is even tired of me because I go there every day.

“Right now, I feel emotionally drained knowing well that this money will solve many problems.”

Has Noble been blacklisted from the Super Eagles?

A top official hinted that the goalkeeper has been blacklisted from international duties in future because some NFF top shots are upset about his outburst over his unpaid bonus.

Noble added: “The news is everywhere that I will never be called up to the Super Eagles again because I asked for my money. Nigeria is my country and a place after my heart.

“I have been called up to the national team severally, but I never got a chance to prove myself.

“This kind of news brings tears to my eyes. Let’s hope this is not true, but if that is the case, it will be a sad thing.

“I have never disrespected anyone, and I know my call-up was made possible by God. Several friends and family members have deserted me because they felt I had collected the bonus, and I’m not willing to share.

“Aside from this, I have incurred several debts, and I am using this medium to appeal to the NFF to look into my matter before another thing happens to me.”

Noble’s heroics during the 2020-21 Caf Confederation Cup second leg play-off round against Rivers United at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium – where he saved two penalties and scored the decisive goal – earned him a maiden Nigeria call-up in 2021.

He was among the three goalkeepers called up by coach Gernot Rohr for the three-time African champions’ Africa Cup of Nations qualification against Benin Republic and Lesotho.