Nigeria’s Super Falcons have seized the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) trophy they won in the just concluded championship until the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) pays them all outstanding bonuses and allowances.
According to Daily Sun, some of the players claimed that the debt (allowances and match bonuses) the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) owed each of them (23 players) excluding the officials, since the team started camping for the tournament amounted to $25,000 (about N11.25 million for each player).
On Tuesday, the NFF said that it will soon pay the players and officials of the team all their entitlements for winning the competition eight times out of ten editions.
The statement signed by NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, quoted the Federation’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, as saying the money for this was however not available at the moment.
The players have said that they will remain in their camp in Abuja and hold on to the trophy until they get their payment.
“I don’t want to talk because even you the journalists know the situation on ground more than us. All I can tell you is that we are not leaving this hotel until we get alert. We are not also releasing the trophy until our demands are met. They can no longer continue to deceive us with the excuse of no money all the time. The authorities owe each of us about $25,000 arrears of match bonuses and allowances. It is enough and we are waiting for the federal government to intervene,” one of the players told Daily Sun.
Another player told New Telegraph: “We are aware of what happened to the U-17 and U-20 female teams who left with empty promises and we do not want to have the same experience. Before we left there were promises they made and until they fulfill them we will remain in this place.”
The NFF statement in which it pledged to pay the allowances read:
The Federation is not happy about owing players and coaches. But it can only continue to seek their understanding and those of hoteliers and travel agents, as well as its management and staff until the situation improves.
There is no gainsaying in the fact that there is a severe economic challenge in the country now and all organisations, whether government or private, are feeling the pinch. But, it is not government’s doing.
We know we have financial commitment to the players and officials of Super Falcons, and we have not at any time stated otherwise. But the money is not readily available at the moment.
I appeal to them to understand the situation of the Federation, to understand the situation of the country at the present and exercise patience.
We will pay them all monies they are being owed as soon as we receive same from government, just as we paid the national under-17 team’s players and officials who won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile last year, after the tournament.
Just as we paid coach Samson Siasia’s wages as soon as we had the funds after the Olympics.
We still owe the Super Eagles for the matches against Zambia and Algeria, but the memos have gone to government and are being looked at.
But we must commend the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, who has been energetically pushing the cases of the various national teams.
We have sent the memo for the Women Africa Cup of Nations in October and it is being processed as we speak.
We are also working to get monies outstanding from former sponsors of the national teams, to complement what we are expecting from government.
In relation to all these, we are in the process of sorting out our TSA domiciliary accounts so that we can receive our due grants from FIFA and CAF, including the $80,000 prize money from the AWCON, once it is available.
The NFF General Secretary also appealed to media representatives to understand the plight of the Federation, and temper their write-ups with some understanding.
“This morning, I was reading a report that the Federation is yet to pay the Super Falcons one kobo. That is not correct. While the team was in Cameroon, the NFF sourced for money from one of our sponsors and paid the players N500,000 each and also paid the technical crew and backroom staff. Our friends in the media should make the effort to clarify whatever information they have before going to press,’’ he said.
While applauding the Falcons for their tenacity and total dedication to duty in Cameroon in spite of low morale, Sanusi confirmed that a reception would soon be held for them.
“NFF is waiting for word from government to know when the African champions will be hosted to a state reception. The reception for the senior women national team is out of our hands. We are waiting on the Federal Government and as soon as we have confirmation of the date, we will inform the players and officials to regroup in Abuja,” he stated.