Nigeria coach denies bribe claims

Nigeria’s chief coach Salisu Yusuf has denied any wrongdoing after footage broadcast on Tuesday showed him accepting money from undercover reporters posing as football agents.

The BBC showed a video of Yusuf taking what it said was $1 000 (850 euros) after a conversation about the selection of two players for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

He was also told he would receive 15 percent of the fee if the players were included in the Nigeria squad for the tournament, which is open only to home-based African footballers.

The BBC said the footage was part of a wider investigation into corruption in African football by Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

His expose has led to the resignation of the head of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, after he was accused of soliciting bribes and kickbacks.

The two players in the latest report were not identified.

In a letter to the BBC, made available by Yusuf, he confirmed he met two people who introduced themselves as football agents and that they had a discussion about players for the CHAN.

He said he neither promised nor committed to select the players nor asked for money, which he maintained was $750 not $1 000 as claimed.

But he said he believed the money was not an inducement and fell within guidelines from the world governing body FIFA and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) about accepting gifts.

“I can remember giving them my honest answer to the end that if the said players were found suitable in the selection process, they would indeed be selected,” he wrote.

“I did accept $750 handed to me by one of the two agents to the two Nigerian players only as a gift of trivial and symbolic value and not as an inducement to play the two players represented by the two agents.”

There was no immediate response from the NFF.

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