The Nigerian Football Federation has denied claims that coaches receive bribes from agents to include their players in national team squads.
The claim was made by former Super Eagles player Daniel Amokachi. “Agents always come to give money for their players to be invited to camp,” said Amokachi. “Does it have to be so?”
“We know this thing has been going on for a while but we have to voice it,” the current manager of Finnish second tier side JS Hercules told BBC Sport.
The legendary striker worked as an assistant for past Eagles coaches Augustin Eguavoen, Shuaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi, and revealed they all had the same issues.
“Every time Amodu would tell me: ‘Can you listen to these useless agents that are calling me? They want to give me US$10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 to bring their players in.’”
“But he’s a man of integrity and wouldn’t take it. I worked with Keshi and it was the same scenario. With Eguavoen, it was the same.
“If these three names mentioned had not had integrity, definitely they would have fallen victim.”
Amokachi revealed he was speaking out because some people thought the coaches were the ones demanding the bribes.
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“Someone accused me lately, (saying) ‘the reason Nigeria did not qualify is because all you coaches demand bribes.’ You understand? I felt the pain.”
“So if he is painting me as a bad egg among a few, then somebody like me cannot be quiet about it. Coaches will confirm people bring money but they will not say it.
“Players will confess, even assistant coaches will confirm this thing is going on, but the system does not allow you because a lot of us are hungry and afraid that ‘when I say this, I will never be near that office again.’”
In response, the federation’s General Secretary, Mohamed Sanusi, told Amokachi to substantiate his claim by naming those involved in the practice.
“I think it is unfair to make such allegations and not mention the names of those involved,” Sanusi told BBC Sport.
“It would be fair if he mentions the names of those who have either approached him or approached some people to give them money. He should also mention people who he knew collected money.
“I think that will be the best way to go about it.
“I have not heard of this issue from any quarter and I can tell you that the NFF will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. If Amokachi has evidence of what he has said he should bring it forward and we will take it up.”