*How Super Falcons players, officials were conned
*Are NFF members having Nigeria at heart?
By Olajide Fashikun
Super Falcons went to Cameroon as defending champions of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations. Yet, the FA and the Ministry did not expect them to win. This is despite that before the Cameroon championship, they have won it seven out of nine times! This must be lie number one.
The national team camped for the competition and played the qualifiers without allowances and bonuses but were promised that once they get to Cameroon they will get all outstanding money due them. They had an outstanding bonus of US$6,500 each before the competition plus another US$17,150 accumulated for winning the Cup the 8th time.
These ladies ironically are the breadwinners in their families. This is the truth. Upon returning from this championship, many friends, team mates and family members would have been calculating how much will drop into their hands. This is even the routine in male national teams.
N42million chartered plane: The same NFF (already bankrupt) and the Ministry that was reported had told the NFF, “no money” suddenly could raise N42million to fly to watch the final on a chartered flight! The players were pained when the NFF top shots and the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, came and left Yaounde without a word to them.
On arrival in Nigeria, while the Secretary General of the NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, came to see them at the Agura Hotel once to assure them that their money would be paid. When eventually the factional NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, he spoke in an ungentlemanly manner and successully infuriated them when he allegedly told them to quit the hotel because the NFF had no money to pay them.
Outside lying mechanism: Nigerians wondered why and how the Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, came into the matter. He poured petrol to an already inflamed situation. He said that their money has not been paid because of the biting recession. Did the Muhammadu Buhari not know there was recession when they sent the lasses out on national assignment? This is worse and very insensitive of the government. There certainly was no inter-ministerial coordination in that reaction.
Solomon Dalung, the Sports minister, 24 hours after the Lai Mohammed gaffe, said they have not been paid because the ministry and the NFF were not expecting them to win the Cup. True. The NFF was reported to have applied for funds for just the group stages.
Amaju Pinnick since he mounted the saddle had no plans for women football development. He never hid it. They didn’t make any arrangements to get money from the government.
Another NFF international embarrassment: Considering the dirty, untidy and stupid international embarrassment the NFF weaved on the country when our Olympic football team were stranded in Atlanta few hours to their opening game against Japan at the Rio Games.
The Super Falcons’ protest which is justified underlines the fact that the heads managing (or is it damaging) Nigerian football are empty. This is a situation they can manage. They have owed their creditors until they lost credit value. This confirms their bankruptcy.
For the same NFF to have allowed bad history to repeat itself with the Super Falcons is sad. Nigerians will remember when these same lasses won the African Women Football Cup in South Africa in 2004. Then they also refused to leave their hotel rooms in Johannesburg unless their allowances and bonuses were paid. They protested then, carrying the Biafran flag, an action that infuriated then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The government appealed to them to return home with a promise that they would be paid. The promise was fulfilled only after some officials instigated the players to lie to Obasanjo that it was their coach, Godwin Izilein, an Edo man, who asked them to protest with the Biafran flag. Till date, Izilien and his assistants are still owed their allowances and were instantly fired from the job.
Nigerians will also remember that the Super Eagles also protested on their way to the 2014 Confederation Cup in Brazil over the same unpaid allowances and bonuses. At the World Cup proper, the issue of money came up again shortly before the second round match against France when the Eagles refused to train. It took the release of money by the government which then sports minister, Dr Tammy Danagogo who ferried the cash from Abuja to them in Brazil. The Eagles lost that match to France 2-0 and crashed out of the World Cup.
Do NFF members want progress for Nigerian football? A man has crisis in his house. The roof of his house is on fire with his family therein. He has so much time to flirt after a lady with a big butt. The embarrassing protesting Super Falcons matter is on, the factional President went to collect form for a position in CAF!
One thing that quickly comes to mind is, are these people in good mental state of the mind? The other members then settled into the public domain to castigate and debate the sickening decision of their leader.
Nigerians will not be in a hurry to recall the violent and terrible media these same people organised a forced sack of Super Eagles coach, late Stephen Keshi. The mobilised the League of Sports Editors to propagate lies on the pages of their platforms.
When the Eagles played Sudan at the Abuja National Stadium, the NFF folks hired fans to boo, pelt and carry placards against the the team and the coaching crew. The team were pelted with urine-filled plastic bottles despite winning.
Again, in Calabar, they worked from behind the scene to ensure that the game turned out against the team and the Eagles lost 2-3 to Congo. In Congo, when the Super Eagles shocked the host with a 2-0 win, the NFF folks were angry. They vowed and ensured the last game in Uyo against South Africa was lost. Their tactics? Ensure players don’t get their allowances on time and make the referees’ stay in Nigeria uncomfortable. Any wonder the Eagles struggled from 0-2 to level up at 2-2, a result that ensured Congo qualified for the 2015 Africa Nations Cup ahead of the Eagles with South Africa.