…as pact between NFF, Wapic Insurance crashes
As the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finally comes to an end, reports have revealed that none of Nigerian players is among top 10 African internationals with the highest insurance value; a development that further unveils the low ranking of players from African most populous and resource endowed country.
This is coming just as New Telegraph finding also revealed that the much celebrated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and Wapic Insurance Plc in respect of providing insurance cover for members of the Super Eagles has ended under circumstances that are not too clear.
In a survey conducted by Atlas Magazine, players from 10 countries were recognised with their insurance value ranging from $7 million to as high as $171 million.
According to the survey, Egyptian star and right winger, Mohamed Salah, who plays in English Premier League, Liverpool, topped the list with $171 million. He is closely followed by Senegalese left winger, Sadio Mane, who also plays for Liverpool with an insurance value worth $137 million.
Trailing behind Mane is another Senegalese, central defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, who plies his trade with an Italian Serie A football club, Napoli. Koulibaly’s insurance value is worth $85 million.
Also on the list is Cote d’Ivoire’s Nicolas Pepe, a right winger, who plays for French Ligue 1 club side, LOSC Lille. He is insured for as much as $74 million. Pepe is trailed by Algeria and Manchester City right winger, Riyad Mahrez, with a value of $68 million. Another right winger for Morocco and Ajax Amsterdam, Hakim Ziyech, is also celebrated on the list with a value of $46 million.
In the same vein, one of Nigeria’s closest rivals, Cameroon, also has Andre Onana, a goalkeeper with Ajax Amsterdam on the list with a value of $40 million.
Centrer-forward, Cédric Bakambu of Democratic Republic of Congo, who plays for Beijing Sinobo Guoan in China, also made the list with a value of $25 million, while attacking midfielder, Tunisian Wahbi Khazri, who plays for French side, Saint-Étienne, is insured with a value of $18 million.
Holding the rear on the top 10 list is Ghanaian’s left-winger, Andre Ayew. He also plays for top spot Turkish football club, Fenerbahce SK. Ayew is insured to the tune of $7 million.
Until 2018 when NFF signed the MoU with Wapic Insurance Plc, no visible insurance arrangement was noticed for Nigerian sportsmen and women, a situation that made them suffer neglect the moment they become victims of disabilities or even in death.
In August 1989, for instance, Nigeria lost one of its most dedicated professional footballers, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, who died during a crucial football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
A visit to the National Stadium is a further proof of the neglect as most sportsmen and women, who represented the country in the past but met with one form of accident, still visit the location to either solicit for alms or engage in other sporting activities in their physically challenged state.
The MoU between NFF and Wapic was signed by the President, NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, and the Managing Director of Wapic, Mrs. Yinka Adekoya, in the presence of other football federation dignitaries.
Although the value of the deal was not disclosed, it, however, gave hope to the budding sports stars following the seriousness on the part of NFF.
Under the partnership, which commenced immediately after the agreement, Wapic was expected to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for all national team players and officials for every match to be played as well as all other events and programmes organised by the NFF.
However, when contacted, a source at the insurance firm confirmed to this newspaper that the deal had ended without any form of renewal.