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AITEO’s Social Capital Investments Saving NIGERIA Embarrassment

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PHOTO: Benedict Peters, Executive Vice Chairman Aiteo Group

-Michael Edwards

At times such as this, few weeks to a major footballing tournament Nigerians would normally be expecting to hear how her footballers and Nigerian football administrators are in a squabble about match bonuses, appearance fees and every other monetary issue you can think about. But the Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in a few days and these problems seem to be a matter associated with the past.

The last major tournament the Super Eagles appeared in was at the World Cup in Russia in the summer of 2018 and over six months to the kickoff of that event, Nigerian officials and team leaders made up of captain John Mikel Obi and other senior members of the squad met to thrash out issues around finances. Even though the Eagles didn’t impress in Russia, the country’s name was not dragged in the mud as has been the case in previous tournaments. 

“We have concluded negotiations and come to an agreement with the team as regards bonuses, allowances and share of income from Fifa for the 2018 World Cup,” 2nd vice president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Shehu Dikko said before Russia 2018. He continued: “Every detail has been agreed on, match bonus for each match and each round up to the final as well as share of income from FIFA money for each round until the stage we are able to get to at the finals. We also agreed on preparation, such as how much players will be paid for the friendly matches, including how and when the monies would be paid.”

Dikko speaking to the BBC a few weeks ago hinted that an agreement similar to the one for the World Cup may be in place between the football federation and the players: “When it comes to bonuses and dues, there’s a mutual trust and understanding between the players and the NFF. They received their 2018 World Cup money upfront and already the Nations Cup qualifying bonuses have been paid.”

Lest we forget, AITEO signed a 5-year deal with the NFF worth N2.5 billion in April 2017. This deal was also said to contain a clause that sees the oil company sort out coaches salaries for the duration of that contract. Little wonder hearing coaches of the national teams complain of outstanding wages has become a thing of the past. The coach and his crew who are meant to monitor players, prepare tactics and scout opponents have been saved the unwanted distraction of visiting the NFF office demanding a backlog of payments.

Pay rows have often surrounded Nigerian teams, with coaches not piad regularly, while players have previously boycotted training during important qualifiers or at major tournaments over unpaid bonus. Nigeria’s 2014 World Cup campaign was affected by a bonus row, with players boycotting training before the round of 16 fixtures against France as they demanded their bonuses and appearance fees.

One may have feared that the Super Eagles failure to get past the group stage of last year’s world cup would have put doubts in the mind of one of biggest investors in African football in recent years but the executive vice chairman of AITEO, Benedict Peters was not only full of praise for one of the country’s most followed brands but he reassured football lovers of the company’s continued support and investment in Nigerian football.

“AITEO is motivated to continue to invest in football, having watched the Super Eagles play their hearts out and fans across the country lay their common differences aside to cheer them. Now is the time to put the World Cup exit behind us and move towards building a stronger team and a stronger nation together,” Peters said in June 2018.

This sort of enthusiasm and passion from Peters must be the reason why AITEO’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Just recently the energy gaints beat off competition from likes of Nike, Coca-Cola and Zenith Bank PLC to retain the Corporate sponsor of Football Award at the prestigous Pitch Awards in Delta State, Nigeria.

Nigeria triumphed at her last appearance in the Nations Cup in 2013 in South Africa in an atmosphere of festering rancour involving the Federation which was led by Alhaji Aminu Maigari and then coach of the national team and Nigerian football legend, Late Stephen Keshi. With seeming harmony amongst football stake holders in the West African nation, lovers and followers of the game would be expecting the former African champions to land their fourth continental title.

If Nigeria can once again rule Africa, AITEO have to share in this glory as that well thought out decision to invest in Nigerian football has proved to be a master stroke. A decision to stick with the team despite a poor World Cup outing also outlines their long-term plan and vision for football in Nigeria, a country where talents abound. One cannot help but wish that like AITEO adopting football other multinationals can adopt a sport and back them fully. Imagine how many medals we will be coming back with from the Olympics in Rio 2020.

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43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Obafemi Victor

    June 15, 2019 at 11:12 am

    I didn’t know the deal also contained a clause to settle the coach and his staff during the duration of the contract. Little wonder why Gernot Rohr has not for once complained about being owed, Aiteo, many many thanks for allowing the team concentrate strictly on footballing issues and not administrative issues.

  2. Avatar

    Jibuo kingsley

    June 15, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Wow wow wow reading this just gives me the hope that there is a great future for the young lads with talent and passion in football big thanks to AITEO they are saviours, very helpful for the professional players to concentrate in the games and win more trophies rather than being distracted many more thank again to AITEO

  3. Avatar

    Ebuka

    June 15, 2019 at 11:23 am

    After reading this all I can say is thank you to the Aiteo group for coming thru for the NFF and giving our football the needed support and push to thrive and become one of the best footballing country in Africa and the world

  4. Avatar

    Ogundepo Adekunle

    June 15, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Wow … AITEO has been a great inspiration to the super eagles and the Nigerian Football federal as a whole by keep believing in them despite the ups and down from the management over the years. I’m so happy to read this article because without it some facts as secrets like this wouldn’t be known. Let’s keeping hoping for a better Nigeria 🙏🏾

  5. Avatar

    Akin adetunji

    June 15, 2019 at 11:23 am

    I am very pleased with this bold step by the AITEO group.This will bring an to the fore a good working environment within the football community and in turn return the nation to its rightful status as a force to reckon with on the continent.I foresee stronger cadres at all levels…. Well done AITEO!!!! Thumbs Up👍🏾

  6. Avatar

    Olajumoke

    June 15, 2019 at 11:24 am

    To be honest the National Football team are heroes and should be treated as such .They are our national treasure and seeing and hearing them complain of hit being paid when they should is really sad and disheartening. This news AITEO coming on boards and taking care of these finances is a welcomed development.

  7. Avatar

    @ukwuchisom

    June 15, 2019 at 11:24 am

    I have to say, such commitment from AITEO is exactly what we need in this country from big investors. Stick with us Tru thick and thin and we’ll never disappoint

  8. Avatar

    Tryphosa

    June 15, 2019 at 11:24 am

    I think it’s commendable that not only the players,but also the coaches were taken into consideration and are being treated well. This is a good thing being done by Aiteo and the fact that they refuse to give up on the National team is the most encouraging part of all, I hope actually in fact I know, that their efforts won’t come to nought at the end of the tournament.

  9. Avatar

    Franklin Obioha

    June 15, 2019 at 11:24 am

    It’s good AITEO has taken over paying players participation bonuses and salaries to avoid stories that touch. Money is a motivating factor for footballers, that being sorted out means they can focus in delivering the best on the pitch. I wish us all the best in the forth coming Nations Cup in Egypt ✌️

  10. Avatar

    Akeem

    June 15, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Wow, this is actually a positive move and I’m very impressed and pleased about it, players and coaches will be able to focus on matches rather than getting distracted due to delay in payment of bonuses and salaries, this is a top notch move.

  11. Avatar

    Azu

    June 15, 2019 at 11:25 am

    This is a great one by Aiteo. They’ve truly been lifesavers for the NFF and for Nigerian Football in general. Its just a shame that the government has chosen now to abandon the Super Eagles for a tournament we stand a very good chance of winning.

  12. Avatar

    Patrick

    June 15, 2019 at 11:26 am

    This is a big win for Nigerian football as it solved many of the issues that have hindered the growth of the sport in our history.In the long run,It’ll really be appreciated because of the positive impact in the Nation’s football.The Aiteo group must be visionary because the idea of them ensuring player allowances and bonuses are paid fully like in 2018,will really push the players to perform better at tournaments and even players with dual nationality would see more reason to adorn the colors of the great nation knowing well that their salaries are ensured at the end of the day.
    Kudos to the Aiteo group

  13. Avatar

    Kamal Rahman

    June 15, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Like the title of the post says,AITEO’s social capital investments saving Nigeria embarrasment, this is so true because I could remember a competition where Mikel Obi had to lodge the players from his pocket. This is a really good development and I wish we can have a scheme like this in other sports aside football then you will see youths embracing sports. Kudos to AITEO once again

  14. Avatar

    Dehkunle

    June 15, 2019 at 11:26 am

    God bless AITEO and the Entire team ,this isn’t something common ,the super eagles and the entire foootball world at large need more people with good visions like this .Keep it up !!

  15. Avatar

    Teasar

    June 15, 2019 at 11:27 am

    It’s good to know that AITEO paying participation bonuses and salaries to players.
    Having to know anything worth doing worth doing well,and if it’s done well,it deserve an appreciation,in cash,.with AITEO,players can stay focus to achieve their goals. Knowing they’ve got a reliable source for their pay.

    • Avatar

      Lofty

      June 15, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Wow!an unflagging one from AITOE, with this in place, our players will be encouraged to perform even better than they use to.I just hope this same energy will be given to other sports (team and individual) to encourage youths with sports talent

  16. Avatar

    Kvngdvnni

    June 15, 2019 at 11:27 am

    The deal Aiteo signed in 2017 really turned made an immense impact on NFF. Most importantly for me, the boycotting of players during training of important qualifiers totally disappeared. This has actually been a great development because a team well taken care of will deliver home and abroad

  17. Avatar

    Keefayah

    June 15, 2019 at 11:29 am

    With a company like AITEO investing in Nigerian football,
    Nigerians can be rest assured that
    Players will have the right motivation to be focused enough to get to the final stage or even win a cup

  18. Avatar

    Demilade

    June 15, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Wow very wonderful insight to how the payment process is been ran now

    I applaud AITEO for taking time to invest in our national football team because football emerges as an important component of Socio-economic development of a country. The active participation in football improves community health and productivity, reduces medical expenses, imbibes discipline in character, generates great leaders, and enhances social cohesion.

    There’s nothing greater than watching our team play in different world competitions with having fights with the govt over bonus and wages

  19. Avatar

    Agbaje Omoniyi

    June 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

    I must really commend this action by AITEO as innovative having coming to the rescue of the whole nation. I really hope with this in place they are eager to do more in the game.

  20. Avatar

    Sharon

    June 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

    It’s a good thing to know we have an investor whose top priority is funding the African football team and giving team mates peace of mind to fovus wholly on winning and making Nigeria proud! Go AITEO!

  21. Avatar

    Adedoyin Adebowale

    June 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

    I love the fact that AITEO is not discouraged with the fact that Super Eagles didn’t bring the cup home at the last World cup, what the Super Eagles need most is encouragement and with that in place, I see the Super Eagles on top and wining

  22. Avatar

    Olajumoke

    June 15, 2019 at 11:31 am

    To be honest the National Football team are heroes and should be treated as such .They are our national treasure and seeing and hearing them complain of not being paid when they should is really sad and disheartening. This news AITEO coming on boards and taking care of these finances is a welcomed development.

  23. Avatar

    Jiraru

    June 15, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I am in support of what AITEO wants to do they clearly understand that the match bonuses and players salary are important in the competition too the passion from AITEO would pay off

  24. Avatar

    Ojo Excel

    June 15, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I have been wondering from Day 1 that why is there no complaint on salaries and other administrative aspect, reading these article enlightens me, I would want the Aiteo group to continue investing in the football and concentrate more on the administrative aspect so that the footballer, coaches and others can do well in their job perfectly.

  25. Avatar

    Jibuo kingsley

    June 15, 2019 at 11:33 am

    It is really nice that AITEO is really helping out with this payment issues at least it would make the football team more concentrated and win more trophies without distraction if payments and bonuses kudos to AITEO God bless

  26. Avatar

    Tolu

    June 15, 2019 at 11:34 am

    What a brilliant one from AITEO! Very thoughtful of them i must say.. The new packages, bonuses and incentives will surely improve the performance of the players and spur their actions on the field.. This encouragement is indeed what the Nigerian football team needs at the moment

  27. Avatar

    Adekunle Ogundepo

    June 15, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Wow … AITEO has been a great inspiration to the super eagles and Nigeria football federations as a whole by keep believing in them despite the ups and down from the management over the years. I’m to happy to read this article because without it some facts and truths like this would never be known to me. Let’s keep hoping for a better Nigeria.

  28. Avatar

    Tryphosa

    June 15, 2019 at 11:35 am

    I think it’s really commendable that Aiteo took not only the players but also the coaches into consideration and they’re also getting their part of the benefits. The most impressive thing in all this is how they refuse to give up on the national team and I know that at the end of the tournament,all these efforts won’t come to nought.

  29. Avatar

    Onatola oluwadamilola

    June 15, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Wow! This is really nice. I wish others can also support some sport the way AITEO support Nigeria football and it’ll be really nice. Kudos to AITEO for this!!!

  30. Avatar

    Arnold Adim Addo

    June 15, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Truth be told , the government can’t do it alone and that’s where sponsors come in. Thanks to AITEO for this initiative I believe it would spur us to more success

  31. Avatar

    Jinadu Olanrewaju Hakeem

    June 15, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Aiteo Group have redefined Nigerian football and have put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

    Thanks for supporting Nigerian Football….

    Thanks for the commitment , thanks for sticking with us through thick and thin. You guys are doing a great work.

  32. Avatar

    Obadeji Adedamola

    June 15, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Recently, I have noticed AITEO contributions to the Nigeria Football, and its been a good thing so far considering the level of input they contributed into the sector. Great Job To the AITEO team

  33. Avatar

    AmejAhlid

    June 15, 2019 at 11:39 am

    I thank the AITEO for deal signed and keeping to it
    I think the NFF needs to play a big role in keeping things working in The Nigeria football sector…I hope we go back to our rightful position In Africa football as Top

    • Avatar

      Zur0nye

      June 15, 2019 at 11:51 am

      What AITEO is doing should be commended by all, they have saved the NFF a great deal of National and international embarrassment. On its part, the football federation should put it self in order and take advantage of this opportunity to put Nigerian football in its rightful place.

    • Avatar

      SireGift

      June 15, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      The deal AITEO group signed is really a nice deal I must say. Apparently, the coaches and players will be paid accordingly without no stress or whatsoever. However, this will make the players and the coach prepare tactics and train vehemently to win tournaments without any distraction of visiting the NFF office for unpaid wages and salaries.

  34. Avatar

    Tunde

    June 15, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Aiteo Group boost the Super Eagles of Nigeria to go for glory at the Russia 2018 World Cup through there awesome bonus and donations to the players and coaches, and they continue in same direction by making such awesome move to usher the super eagles to the forthcoming African cup of Nation.. I must really applaud there efforts towards sports developments and wish them many more success in there endeavors

  35. Avatar

    Blessing Udanshi Adie

    June 15, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Its a good thing that a company is actually interested in the well-being of footballers and coaches in Nigeria. Kudos to Aiteo for a job well done.

  36. Avatar

    Vanessa Chukwudolue

    June 15, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Many thanks to “AITEO” for their continuous support to Nigerian football. As a result of Benedict Peters(Vice chairman,AITEO group) his effort was was impeccable. Thanks to AITEO, they sorted out coaches salaries for 5 years since 2017. Hence, there’s been no complaints of salary debts unlike in the past. Also, the NFF players were not left out drom bonuses to allowances..Shehu Dikki has confirmed every details been agreed and sorted on i.e they received their 2018 World cup pay before the game began. I believe if Nigeria canrule African football again, then we have to give big kudos to AITEO for their huge support and influence in the improvement of the Nigerian football system. We are sure headed to grab medals in th Olympics 2020 with AITEO’s continuous impact.

  37. Avatar

    Jiraru

    June 15, 2019 at 11:54 am

    I think and know that AITEO sponsoring NFF is good too and i understand everything about how this football money affects players on the pitch their passion is very good…Thanks AITEO for the deal

  38. Avatar

    Ezele Patrick

    June 15, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Good Idea by the Aiteo group,will really aid Nigerian football in the long run and redeem the image of the nation in football matters.
    Prompt payment of players salaries will really boost the morale of the team and push the players to do better.
    Good work from the Aiteo group

  39. Avatar

    Ovu Uche

    June 15, 2019 at 11:55 am

    After going through this article, I must say a big kudos to Aiteo group for doing a wonderful job and doing everything to help the growth of our football in Nigeria. Now the players can work hard on the pitch to get the maximum win without thinking of unpaid allowances.

  40. Avatar

    Mayowa

    June 15, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    AITEO’s involvement in the world cup is such a phenomenal move. Having to save the country of the embarrassment and sorting out all necessary bills and even bonuses are not to be taken for granted at all as it would boost the players morale. They have taking a huge step in saving the country and should be praised for their actions

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