There is no end to motivation for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their quest to win the 2013 Africa Nations Cup, as the Nigeria Football Federation dangles $20,000 at each player to beat the Eagles of Mali.
The NFF opened the trips to the banks with the $15,000 bonus for the quarter final victory over Ivory Coast before the officials reconfirmed the bonus earmarked for the Wednesday match.
Even doubts were initially raised over the shortfall in their budget the federation officials have said in Durban that they are sticking to their initial plans to pay them graduated bonuses as the competition enters the final stages.
NFF’s assistant director, media and publicity, Demola Olajire, told The Punch on Tuesday that the bonus was a graduated gesture to ensure that Nigeria win the trophy.
He said, “The NFF is committed to the team’s welfare. It has the responsibility of making sure that the team is motivated to be at their best. The team has been working hard to improve on its performance and Nigerians must be happy to see the greatness in them with the defeat of Ivory Coast which was considered impossible before then.
“If they move to the final by beating Mali on Wednesday, each of the players will receive $20,000. It is not the first time the NFF is showing such gesture. We did it when they moved to other stages of the championship and there is a provision for winning the title as well.”
The Eagles of Nigeria will meet the Eagles of Mali in the semi-final of the tournament at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Wednesday, with eyes on the final. Nigeria last won the Nations Cup in 1994 and after much struggle to convert several third place finishes to trophy, it got to a head in the last edition as Guinea edged out Nigeria in the qualifying stage.
Coach Stephen Keshi has had a slow start in South Africa but after beating tournament’s favourites Elephants of Ivory Coast in the quarterfinal match on Sunday, the Eagles rating improved sharply, as bookmakers now tip them to lift the trophy.
The Eagles have raked in fortunes in this championship. They earned $5,000 for each of the two draws against Burkina Faso and Zambia and got $10,000 for beating Ethiopia to progress to the quarterfinal stage. The qualification also earned the team $30,000 each. If they move on to win the trophy, a sum of $25,000 awaits each of the players in a graduated bonus.