The junior national team, the Flying Eagles, left the country for a playing tour of Egypt on Monday without their coach John Obuh. The coach was left behind following a mild drama at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja as he protested the non-payment of his salary allegedly totalling 13 months.
Obuh who later spoke to reporters said he was owed three months and not 13.
The airport showdown came up despite the Nigeria Football Federation’s earlier statement that all the national teams’ coaches had been paid their outstanding salaries.
The U-20 Eagles are in Egypt where they will engage the Egypt’s U-20 side in a two-legged friendly on Wednesday and Friday in continuation of their preparation for the Africa Youth Championship in Algeria next month.
Obuh caused a scare just before the team’s departure when he failed to show up for the journey. The team were on the verge of leaving without him when he eventually emerged for clearance for the flight but did not eventually travel.
But an NFF extended staff who was at the airport and was aware of the discussions held with Obuh told The PUNCH that the issue was resolved on Monday.
Obuh himself spoke after meeting with the General Secretary of the NFF Mr. Musa Amadu.
“There is no doubt I am owed about three-month salaries and not 13 months as being speculated and I hope we resolve the problems by tomorrow (Tuesday). It is an in-house problem and the office is tackling them. I will let you know the outcome tomorrow.
“I have not been paid any money as reported neither have I received any alert of payment through my bank so I wonder why someone would go to press with claims that my salaries have been paid. I love my job and I have sacrificed so much for my country and still ready to do more but a labourer deserves his wage,” he said.
The 2011 AYC winning coach had never publicly said anything about his unpaid salaries but his close associates had said that the former Sharks coach was last paid sometime in 2011.
NFF president, Aminu Maigari, could neither confirm nor deny the claim, saying only the coach could answer the question.
“You can ask the coach if he has been paid or not. I’ll not answer that,” Maigari said.
He added that the NFF’s focus was to aid the team in defending the African title they won in South Africa two years ago.
Nigeria will be facing Mali, DR Congo and Gabon in Group B, while Egypt are in Group A alongside hosts Algeria , Ghana and Benin.