•Shifts blame from recession to NFF
The Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to produce excuses over its failure to pay match bonuses to the female national football team, following their triumph at the just concluded African Women Nations Cup in Cameroun.
The latest excuse is coming from the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Solomon Dalung, who said they were never expected to win the trophy.
Dalung’s reason for the poor handling of the Super Falcons is coming barely 24 hours after the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed,blamed recession.
The Super Falcons had staged a sit-in protest at their hotel to expressed their disappointment and vowed not to
release the trophy to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), until
their bonuses are paid.
But when confronted by State House correspondents to react to the embarrassing development, Dalung admitted that although the team won the trophy for a record eighth time, that their victory was not expected.
According to him, if the NFF was confident of yet another victory in the tournament that held in Cameroon, it would have applied for and processed the funds for their bonuses early enough to avoid the national embarrassment.
The Minister who describe the development as unfortunate, pointed out that government needed to perform a ‘surgery’ on the sports sector otherwise to forestall a repeat in the future.
Dalung said, “It is unfortunate that we are celebrating victory of the Super Falcons amidst some bitter feelings among the players because of some
administrative lapses that were not managed properly.
“If the situation was explained to these
girls I don’t think the situation would have gotten to this level. But we are working round to clock to ensure that what belongs to them legitimately is given to them. This has to do with
“One thing I always make clear is that the process of request for funds for sporting projects must come earlier to meet the objectives. Don’t forget that nobody even knew the team would emerge victorious, if we were confident they will emerge victorious, all the Federation would have done is to
plan for process of participation and entitlement.
“It is already established in sports
tradition, when you win this is what you are entitled to. The situation is highly unfortunate and I don’t like it. These
girls have given confidence to women who want to embrace sports
but this will go a long way in killing this laudable achievement. It is unfortunate but we will make sure the right
thing is done.”
The Minister who noted that even the team’s coaches were being owed backlog of salaries, stated that “it
is a complex situation but the entire governance of football deserves an urgent surgery. If that surgery is not done we will always live with the embarrassment. I’m talking about the
governance of football administration in Nigeria.
He insisted that the excuse of “non
interference” according to FIFA rule has been used to harass and intimidate government. He added, “But now that the government is being embarrassed by the activities, I don’t see anybody talking about interference.
“They use it to scandalise the government so the man who is at the receiving end has the responsibility to
ensure that things must be done right so we must take steps to ensure that money meant for athletes get to them on time as and when due.”
Dalung recalled that but for his timely
intervention, such ugly situation would have happened during the last Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
According to him, by insisting that all
athletes were paid their 22-day entitlements directly from government purse and not through their respective sports federations, that embarrassment was prevented.