Super Eagles' Coach Stephen Keshi on Wednesday described the seven-month salaries being owed him by the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) as "the lowest point" of his coaching career.
Keshi said this in Abuja at the Home-based Super Eagles' interactive session with the media ahead of the team's upcoming international friendly with Jordan in Amman.
He spoke in reaction to a statement credited to the NFA that the allowances and bonuses the team's coaches earn were enough to sustain them.
Keshi is being owed about N35million in salary arrears.
Keshi however said the NFA had not done him any favour with the Super Eagles' coaching job, because he had done the job with all he had.
Owing me up to seven months makes me feel I am not being appreciated. It is like they (my employers) think I am being favoured in what I am doing.
I am not being favoured. Whatever I am doing here, I am doing it with everything I have and I need to be respected and be paid -- Keshi
"The lowest point of my career is working and not being paid for seven to eight months. I have never had this kind of experience before," he said.
The former Super Eagles captain recalled that he was never owed his salaries when he worked with the Malian and Togolese football federations as coach of their senior national teams.
"In Mali, they will never owe you. Your salary will hit your account before the end of every month. It was the same thing in Togo.
"Owing me up to seven months makes me feel I am not being appreciated. It is like they (my employers) think I am being favoured in what I am doing.
"I am not being favoured. Whatever I am doing here, I am doing it with everything I have and I need to be respected to be given my pay," Keshi said.
He said it was unbelievable that he and his colleagues had worked without pay for about eight months out of the 24 months they have worked with the Super Eagles.
"I don't like discussing about money issues and if there is any NFA member who said we can work for free, then I will want to speak with him face to face.
"If they say we can work for free and that they are not going to pay, so be it.
"I can't have my family abroad and I will be in debt because I have not been paid for seven months and somebody is saying we should not complain," the coach said.
He regretted that the NFA appears not to be concerned about their plight "in spite of training under rain and sun to make Nigerians happy".
NAN recalls that Aminu Maigari, the NFA chairman, had recently confirmed the debt owed Keshi and his colleagues.
He had however said the Nigerian football governing body could not help it as it was cash-strapped.
Maigari claimed that the situation had led to the slashing of the Eagles' winning bonus from $10,000 to $5,000.
He also pointed out that some NFA members of staff were being owed for over a year.
Maigari had mentioned those being owed to include Musa Amadu, the Secretary-General, Mohammed Sanusi, the Director of Competitions, and Emmanuel Ikpeme, the Director of Technical.