African champions Nigeria are expected in Brazil for the Confederations Cup on Saturday, after a phone call between Fifa’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, and an unnamed Nigerian official reportedly resolved the Super Eagles’ wage dispute.
The Nigerian squad has been holed up in a Namibian hotel since their World Cup qualifying draw earlier this week.
They refused to travel to Brazil because they had not been paid bonuses for matches against Namibia and Kenya that the Nigerian football authorities had promised them.
The promised bonuses were $10 000, but the players were only paid $5000 in a cost-cutting move by Nigerian Football Federation.
The players were irate and refused to board their plane from Windhoek, resulting in their delay in arriving in Brazil to represent Africa at the Confed Cup.
"They are declining to leave," Namibia FA general secretary Barry Rukoro told Reuters on Thursday.
"They were supposed to go at 11 a.m. this morning but they say they are owed money by their association and want it sorted before they will leave the hotel.
"Their officials all departed on an earlier flight this morning but the players and the technical staff are still here."
But Fifa honcho Valcke has subsequently intervened, with the smooth running of Brazil’s pre-World Cup rehearsal at stake. And he says that the standoff between the Super Eagles and their sneaky paymasters has been resolved.
"I've spoken with the team manager and they will be in the plane on Saturday and they will arrive for the Confederations Cup. The problem is solved," Valcke told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro.
Nigeria will contest Group B at the Confed Cup, against Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti.
They are scheduled to play their first match against Oceania champions Tahiti on Monday, and will have lost more than 24 hours of preparation and acclimatisation time by the time the match gets underway.