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Why Nigeria owes Keshi, Manu Garba, other football coaches millions as salaries

Sources at the NFF told PREMIUM TIMES that the Eaglets coach, Manu Garba, has not been paid for almost a year. Garba is reportedly on a N1 million monthly salary.

The Eaglets coach declined comments when asked to confirm how many months’ salaries he was being owed.

The spokesperson of Globacom, Charles Ikoabasi, also declined comment on the alleged debt.

However, Keshi, whose Super Eagles qualified for Brazil 2014 World Cup on Saturday, is not the only coach being owed salaries. A PREMIUM TIMES investigation revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, owes coaches of the various national teams millions of naira as salaries and allowances.

Despite being the first Nigerian coach to win the African Cup of Nations with the male national team, the Super Eagles, and becoming the first African coach to qualify two different African countries, Togo and Nigeria, for the World Cup, Stephen Keshi, is still being owed at least three months salary by Nigeria.

“In the same vein, the contract between NFF and Globacom is a confidential matter between both bodies. When and whether Globacom pays or defaults is for both sides to thrash out according to the terms of relationship.”

“I don’t have anything to say about it; I don’t know about it,” Mr. Ikoabasi said in response to PREMIUM TIMES enquiry.

In its response, the football federation told the NSC that they were broke and did not have enough to pay the salaries and allowances of the national team coaches.

However, sources at the federation told PREMIUM TIMES that the major reason the federation is unable to honour its agreement on coaches salaries is because it has in the past relied on funds from its major sponsor, the telecommunication firm, Globacom, to pay the coaches’ salaries.

Apart from Keshi, another coach being owed is Manu Garba, coach of the world-conquering male Under 17 team, the Golden Eaglets. Both of them are being owed at least three months salaries.

Keshi confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the NFF only paid three months of the six months salaries he was owed. He is currently being paid N5 million per month.

When PREMIUM TIMES sought the official position of the NFF on why it could not pay coaches salaries, and the current state of the Globacom debt, its Chief Media Officer, Ademola Olajire, in a mail to PREMIUM TIMES, refused to provide an explanation.

The finances of the NFF have never really been in order amidst allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds by its past and present officials.

“Globacom is owing a total amount of N175 million and this is causing a big delay and disgrace to the football federation,” a top official of the football house said. “The federation is broke and in debt. If they pay, all the national team coaches would be paid and they would be happy.”

“They have paid three months out of the outstanding. As its now, they are owing me three months salary; but everything should be paid so that I can do what has to be done,” Keshi told PREMIUM TIMES a few days before Saturday’s encounter with Ethiopia which the Eagles won 2-0.

“I was not told that Globacom’s money will be used to pay my salary – although there are rumors that the NFF didn’t pay us because of Globacom – but I don’t want to be part of that; my own is to be paid my salary,” Keshi said.

The NFF has not paid Keshi for three months.

Broke, relying on Globacom

“Issues of payment/non-payment of salaries or allowances are strictly between employer/employee. I will not make comment on this,” Olajire said.

The NSC has had to bail out the federation on many financial matters including players’ allowances such as when the Super Eagles refused to travel to Brazil for the Confederations Cup because of allowance dispute.

While the NFF and Globacom appear unable to resolve the debt issue, observers wondered why the NFF would tie payment of coaches’ salaries to finances from one company; as the NFF finances come from various sources as the NSC; world football governing body, FIFA; and sponsorships.

Already the non-payment of the coaches’ salaries has drawn the ire of the National Sports Commission, NSC, whose chairman, Bolaji Abdullahi, queried the NFF a couple of weeks ago on the matter, a source said.

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