The dispute over player bonuses that threatened Nigeria’s participation in the Confederations Cup does not seem to be fully resolved, captain Vincent Enyeama suggested on Sunday.
“The dispute, which to all intents and purposes appeared to be settled on Friday, has only been resolved ‘for now’, Enyeama emphasized in a media briefing on Sunday.
The impasse with the Nigerian FA has overshadowed the African champions’ final preparations for the tournament, which is being used a test of Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup, and they only arrived in the early hours of Sunday.
They meet Oceania champions Tahiti in their opening match on Monday.
“I don’t really want to talk about this issue, it should not have gone into the press and I don’t want to elaborate on it much,” said Enyeama, who was sitting alongside coach Stephen Keshi at the team’s media briefing.
“It went on for the last four days and we don’t want to spend our energy on it now. It is over for now, it is settled for now, but after the championship we will revisit it. But for now it’s done and we will concentrate on the match with Tahiti.”
Nigeria’s players had been promised $10,000 for each win in the tournament and $5,000 for a draw, but the impoverished NFA said just before the team were due to fly to Brazil it could not afford that level of bonuses and would cut them in half.
The Nigerian squad refused to leave their hotel in Windhoek, Namibia, where they drew with Namibia in a World Cup qualifier last week, and their participation in the Confederations Cup was in doubt.
FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said on Friday the matter had been resolved and Nigeria duly arrived in Brazil at 0300 local time on Sunday.
Keshi, who refused to criticize his players for their actions, said he was concerned they may feel fatigued when they face Tahiti but he was relishing the chance to play in the competition where they also face Uruguay and world champions Spain in Group B.
“I am a bit worried by fatigue but I am not upset with my players. It depends on how you look at the situation,” Keshi said.
“But for now I am proud to be here, proud to be leading my country in a very important tournament and proud to be representing Africa.”