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Vogts puts back arrival in Nigeria

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LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigerian football has been thrown into confusion after former Germany coach Berti Vogts failed to arrive to take charge of the national team.

The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) said Vogts, who was initially scheduled to fly in on Tuesday, had called to postpone his arrival citing "personal reasons."

But Nigerian media reported that Vogts, who signed a four-year contract in early February, put back his trip because he had not been paid three months salary up front as spelt out in the deal.

The NFA said Vogts, who is on $50,000-a-month, has been paid and is expected to set a new arrival date soon.

"There is no problem with the contract whatsoever. The money was wired to his account in Germany on Monday," NFA official Tunde Aderibigbe said.

Vogts also denied the media reports. "I will fly to Nigeria on March 13 because it wouldn't make any sense to be there before that and just lie around on the beach," he told the German sports news agency SID.

Nigeria's sports authorities have often fallen out with their national team coaches over failure to pay wages, but local league sponsor, telecoms firm Globacom, has agreed to pay the German's bills.

"Vogts called the NFA chairman yesterday to say he would not be coming as earlier planned, because of personal reasons," Aderibigbe said. "He said he will get back to us with a new date shortly."

The German, who led his country to victory at Euro 96, but had less success with spells in charge of Kuwait and Scotland, was expected to take over the Super Eagles three weeks ahead of Nigeria's 2008 Africa Nations Cup qualifier with Uganda on March 24.

"Vogts said we should not panic about our match against Uganda because the delay will not affect his program in any way," Aderibigbe said.

The 60-year-old 1974 World Cup winner will replace Austin Eguavoen, who took Nigeria to third place at the Africa Nations Cup in Egypt last year but failed to get them to the 2006 World Cup.

Eguavoen said in September that he had not been paid in nine months.

Nigeria have won the African Nations Cup twice -- in 1980 on home soil and in 1994 in Tunisia -- and won Olympic football gold in 1996.


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Vogts led Germany to victory at the 1996 European Championships.

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