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THE INSIDER: Enyimba in a mess, match bonuses not paid since Feb 2020

THE INSIDER: Enyimba in a mess, match bonuses not paid since Feb 2020
April 23
11:12 2021

The Abia state government has starved Enyimba, Nigeria’s most successful club side, of funds in the past year, insiders told TheCable.

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Last month, TheCable had reported how players of the club threatened to remain in South Africa over the alleged non-payment of their February salaries and allowances.

The threat came after the two-time African champions were beaten by Orlando Pirates in their CAF Confederation Cup clash.

In a fresh development, sources within the Aba-based Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club told TheCable that the team was last paid their match bonuses in February 2020.

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The People’s Elephant have only lost once at home in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup in the last four years.

The reverse is, however, the case in the past few months. They have only won four out of 12 Confederation Cup matches and just once in 10 CAF Champions League games.

With talents like Anayo Iwuala, John Noble, Austin Oladapo, Victor Mbaom, Tosin Omoyele, Faruq Mohammed and Cyril Olisema, the Fatai Osho team should be formidable enough for continental clashes — but that is not the case.

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The source said the players are not motivated enough to give their best when outside the shores of Nigeria because oftentimes, they get next to nothing in terms of funds.

“This team is too broke. Even ordinary feeding allowance in transit within Nigeria is not sure. They’re desperately waiting for CAF money to pay debts. That’s the reality on ground,” the source told TheCable.

“All the governor’s men want Anyansi out and they poison his mind regularly and the team is starved of funds to frustrate the chairman to resign.

“Enyimba is in a mess. A big one at that. After the match against FC Setif, we walked on foot on the street of Algeria to find buka [restaurant] to eat that night.

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“No bonus since February 2020. The away win we had last season in the CCC in Cote D’Ivoire against San Pedro to qualify for the quarter-finals has not been paid. Plus bonuses of over a year and travelling estacode.”

Another source told TheCable that due to the lack of funds, most players pretend to be injured to avoid taking part in away games.

“Some fake injuries not to even travel. For instance, Nelson didn’t travel to Algeria claiming he is having a knock on his knee,” the source added.

“Seven players pulled out of the game against Al Ahli Benghazi with the pretence of being injured.”

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One of the Enyimba officials, who spoke with TheCable, also noted that there is brewing discontent and rebellion among the players.

He said ex-players who were owed match bonuses before leaving Enyimba are also encouraging the present crop of players to revolt.

“Lots of tactical indiscipline been displayed because practically they’re been begged to play,” the club official said.

“Those players that left the team last season are also disturbing the team. They’re the ones pressurising our players here that they should insist on the strike because they have their bonuses here.”

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Enyimba were beaten 1-0 by Al Ahli Benghazi on Thursday night — their third consecutive away defeat in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The team was ferried to Libya on a 150 million naira chartered Air Peace flight on Wednesday night for the encounter.

They are third in group A with six points behind Benghazi on seven points. South Africa’s Orlando Pirates top the group with eight points.

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