Leon Balogun decided to break the norm in the current setup of the Super Eagles of Nigeria by voicing out his displeasure with the football authority in the country.
The 33-year-old Rangers center-back revealed that the players of the national team are being demoralized due to how the country’s football authority is managing them.
In the past, senior players of the Super Eagles of Nigeria have been blacklisted from the national team for speaking against the ills of the Nigerian Football Association. Most of the players who were forced into early retirement from the national team have always complained that the team was not being well managed in terms of infrastructure and delays in the payment of bonuses.
For a while now, such complaints have not been heard especially from the current players of the national team until Leon Balogun decided to break the silence about the poor state of things in the national team.
In an interview with “The Beautiful Game Podcast”, Leon Balogun stressed that he and his teammates are being owed match bonuses and they are not being given proper facilities whenever they come to play for the national team.
Leon Balogun who has been playing for the national team since March 6, 2014, and has made 36 appearances, said some of the Super Eagles players are suspected not to be giving their best to the team because of how poorly they are being treated by the country’s football authority.
“You hear about other players and why can’t they perform in the Super Eagles. We have to be honest, the infrastructure, we are not being provided with the best minerals to do our job,” Balogun said.
“It starts with pitches or it starts with accommodation but it goes on to pitches and all these kinds of things.
“And as I said I’m always quite outspoken, probably I know if some people hear that they might come after me but I don’t care because that’s just how it is…
“About the bonuses, it’s not even a secret, I’ve read something recently where people in charge contradict themselves saying things have been paid then they admit they haven’t been paid,” he said.
NFF react to the criticism of Leon Balogun
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has admitted that the football authority has not paid bonuses and allowances to the players and coaches of the national team for a couple of months.
However, the football authority insisted that it always provides quality facilities to the national team for all their international engagements.
A statement issued by the NFF general secretary Mohammed Sanusi, urged the players and staff to show more understanding with the football authority, adding that the NFF is working hard to settle the team.
The statement read: “The NFF deserves no joy in owing players and coaches their entitlements.
“The same players and coaches have been well-taken-care-of and provided the necessary facilities when things were normal, and as we work assiduously towards conquering the present challenges and seeing sunlight again, we expect the players, coaches, and administrative staff to show the same level of understanding that they have been showing over the past 18 months…
“Of course, we are pragmatists and we release that these things can be frustrating and some people will boil over and talk about them. It is normal.
“Last month, during the friendlies in Austria, we were able to pay some of the outstanding bonuses and allowances.
“We are working at a pace presently to clear what is remaining. As I speak, we are owing to the team bonuses and allowances from only the last two matches, and payments for these two games have been sent to the Central Bank some weeks ago.
“They will receive the monies shortly. We are equally working to pay the coaches what they are being owed as salaries.”