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Local Players Protest Conakry Treatm­ent

Abuja — Home based players have condemned the way they were treated by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the senior foreign players in Conakry over the weekend during the international engagement against Guinea.

Nigeria lost 1-0 to the Syli Nationals to make the task of reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final next year in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon a monstrous challenge.

But we gathered yesterday that the local players felt that their pride was brushed on account of the way the federation and the foreign based players related to them in Conakry.

Checks revealed that the local players were offered back seats on the chartered flight, far away from their Europe based colleagues in the cabin of the flight to Conakry.

The players said the decision to keep them apart on that flight dampened morale and team spirit.

Enugu Rangers defender Valentine Nwabili, who made his international debut in September against Madagascar in Calabar, was blunt in condemning the shabby treatment they received from the federation in Guinea.

The left wing back told a local radio that they were left with no food and were exhausted when they arrived the Guinean capital from Abuja on the evening of October 9.

Nwabili said that the manner they were looked down on by the federation and foreign based players would discourage them from honouring future national call ups.

Eagles captain Joseph Yobo had questioned the decision of the NFF to draft many local players into the national fold, saying they lacked the maturity for big game inclusion.

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Yobo said the locals cannot interpret simple instructions when asked to do so by their better exposed foreign based team mates and wondered why many of them should be invited to the national team for a major national engagement.

In the wake of the Conakry debacle, acting General Secretary of the NFF, Musa Amadu on principle declined to make any bonus payment to the Eagles saying government would be shortchanged if he did otherwise.

The Eagles had expected some form of compensation for the ‘patriotic’ display they showed by continuing with their training sessions following the FIFA ban clamped on them days before the departure to Conakry which made the possibility of the game unlikely. Instead, Musa handed the match bonus to the National Sports Commission (NSC).

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