Players and officials of the victorious Super Falcons have threatened to take their protest to the doorsteps of President Muhammad Buhari if the Sports Ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) continued to withhold their allowances.
The team returned from Yaoundé on Sunday morning after winning their eighth African Women Nations Cup title by beating the hosts, Lionesses of Cameroon, 1-0 on Saturday.
They left for Abuja on Sunday evening after having lunch with Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung and NFF President, Amaju Pinnick in a brief reception organized by Emzor Pharmaceuticals, one of the federation’s sponsors.
At the lunch, the players expected the minister to tell them when and how their emoluments, including camp allowances, winning bonuses and nine months salary for the coaches, would be settled.
“The minister only told us we will meet in Abuja and left with the 2.00 p.m. flight to the federal capital. We came in some hours later and since then, we have been waiting at Agura Hotel to hear from either the minister or the NFF.
“So, if by the close of work today (yesterday) nothing comes from them, we may take our action. I don’t know why this country always wants people to embarrass it before doing the needful. We may be forced to march to the Presidential Villa or the Senate to register our grievances. “Look at the way we were treated like orphans in Cameroon. None of us could buy anything for our loved ones back home just because there was no single kobo to do shopping. Is it fair?” the player asked.
NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, had told The Guardian at the Murtala Mohammed Airport shortly after the Super Falcons’ arrived on Sunday that the federation was cash strapped, adding, however, that they would do everything possible to make the players and officials smile.
“You didn’t give what you don’t have,” Pinnick answered when pressed to state exactly when the players and officials would get their emoluments.
He added, however: “We will see what we can do to put smiles on their faces because they really made the country proud.”