Former Super Eagles forward, Jonathan Akpoborie, has warned top government officials not to distract the national team players with monetary promises ahead of their all-important Qatar 2022 World Cup play-offs against Ghana later this week.
The first leg of the encounter comes up Friday at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi while the return leg is billed for the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja four days later.
In recent times, Nigerian dignitaries, including sports ministry officials, representatives of private companies and billionaire businessmen, had interrupted team training, half time team talks to make financial promises to the players to win matches.
At the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, videos of top officials pledging huge sums to players for goals scored and every stage win went viral online, but Akpoborie insists that must stop, say it was distraction to the players.
“I don’t think officials walking into team training and half time talks to promise players monetary incentives to win a match is good. I think it is distracting to the boys and it should stop,” Akpoborie said on Twitter.
“At a certain time non-footballers were even brought to train with national team players, which I personally think is not good at all. If you want to give footballers money, promise them before the game not by going to their training to do it, I think it is distracting,” Akpoborie added.
Another ex-international Uche Akubuike said the best thing would be for authorities not to publicly disclose what they want to give the players so it does not distract them.
“I will prefer a situation where a figure is not given to the incentives so they can concentrate. After they have delivered, then they can all smile to the bank,” the former Eagles goalkeeper told our Source