Nigeria footballers strike

The national team refused to leave their hotel in Namibia, missing a flight to Brazil.

Soccer ball. Picture: EWN

WINDHOEK - Nigeria's football team went on strike on Thursday, refusing to leave their hotel in Namibia and missing a flight to Brazil where they are supposed to compete in the Confederations Cup, which gets underway at the weekend.

"They are declining to leave," Namibia Football Association general secretary Barry Rukoro told Reuters. "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. So far there is no indication they are leaving."

Sources said the Nigerian players were angry over unpaid bonus money promised to them after they beat Kenya in a World Cup qualifier last week.

They had been promised payment after Wednesday's match against Namibia in Windhoek, where a 1-1 draw took the African champions closer to the final stage of qualification for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

The 23-man Nigeria squad were supposed to fly from Windhoek to Johannesburg and catch a connection to Brazil, where they were due to arrive late on Thursday, a FIFA spokesman in Zurich confirmed.

They are due to play their first game in the competition against Tahiti in Belo Horizonte on Monday.