Nigeria’s national team at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019) became the latest to stage a strike over unpaid bonuses, when it refused to train ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Guinea.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons who represented the country at the Women’s World Cup in France also staged a sit-in strike at a hotel, while Cameroon and Zimbabwe have also come to AFCON 2019 with unresolved payment issues.
In this article, we look at the prevailing bonus payment disputes, and how they have been managed.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria who had been striking over over unpaid bonuses at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations underway in Egypt, eventually suspended their strike on Tuesday.
The players had reportedly not received a $10,000 match bonus that they had each been promised.
The team finally agreed to train in Alexandria ahead of their game against Guinea in Alexandria, after the Nigerian Football Federation promised to pay a win bonus from their 1-0 victory over Burundi on Saturday.
Nigerian Football Association spokesman Ademola Alajire said the matter had been resolved, conceding that funds for the tournament had arrived late.
The Nigerian under-20 team and the women’s team, whose world cups are ongoing in Poland and France respectively, also went on strike over unpaid bonuses.
Cameroon’s late arrival at AFCON
Cameroon’s arrival at the tournament in Egypt was delayed by 24 hours when the squad refused to board their plane in Yaounde while they haggled over increased appearance fees and bonus monies.
They eventually boarded after negotiations with government officials and coach Clarence Seedorf suggested on Sunday that the experience might well turn out to be a positive.
“All teams in the world at some point in their history experience such troubles,” said the former Netherlands international and four-time Champions League winner, “but it will not affect our morale or our preparations.”
“Actually the bonus crisis has reinforced the team spirit and the determination within the squad to perform well. There was some tension but the players have behaved maturely and they’ve decided to be here to fight for Cameroon.
Cameroon won their tournament opener against Guinea Bissau at Ismailia on Tuesday, and are top of Group F after Benin and Ghana settled for a 2-2 draw in the other Group F game.
Zimbabwe’s AFCON uncertainty
While Zimbabwe’s football federation denied allegations that the national team threatened to boycott AFCON 2019 over a pay dispute, the team’s striker Khama Billiat said he was happy with his country’s performance against Egypt ‘under the circumstances’.
‘‘I think the guys are really professional, if credit to them for that, that we put everything away in the space of a few hours, and shifted our focus to the game,’‘ Billiat said after Zimbabwe’s 0-1 loss to hosts Egypt.
“ZIFA and Warriors have signed a contract and both parties will honour and respect all contractual obligations,’‘ the football association had reiterated before the tournament opener.