The Nigeria national women’s football team, the Super Falcons, have withheld the Africa Women’s Nations Cup won last weekend in Cameroon in protest against the government’s failure to pay them.
Though the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Thursday reassured the African champions that they will receive all their entitlements, the team has not relinquished the trophy.
The minister, who was in the company of the NFF’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, met with the players and officials at their Agura Hotel, Abuja, on Thursday.
“I had to make time out to meet with you ladies again after receiving you on arrival in Lagos. In the past few days I have heard so much about the team’s grievances, challenges and issues here and there,” he said.
“I have also discussed with the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation but I felt it is necessary for me to come and sit to discuss with you in order for us to understand ourselves better. The issues with the team date back to the All-Africa Games, bothering on allowances and bonuses. We are also aware that the coaches are also being owed.
“The point I want to make clear is that for this competition which this team have participated in and won, we are indeed overwhelmed by the performance of the team,” he stated in a press statement issued by the NFF’s Ademola Olajire.
The minister urged the players and officials to be patient with the government so that their laudable achievement can be appreciated.
“Personally, I don’t want this achievement to be rubbished with whatever challenges we are facing because one thing that will stand to the end is our achievements,” he said.
Mr. Dalung concluded by promising the Falcons that the process to sort out their money was in process, and would be sorted out eventually.
“But one thing I want you all to know is that there are procedures for getting such monies from the Federal Government. It is not like an ATM that you will just go to and bring out cash. Government has processes on how things are done. We are still processing and pursuing the entitlements of the team.
As it stands, the Falcons say only bank alerts can appease them.