The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has thanked President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for directing that players and officials of African champions, Super Falcons be paid in less than 48 hours, following the team’s protest at the Three Arms Zone on Wednesday.
The Falcons protested their unpaid allowances and bonuses of the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) tournament at the National Assembly complex on Wednesday in Abuja, which immediately called the attention of both the Presidency and the law makers.
“We are grateful to the Presidency for the prompt action, and we believe this will put the minds of theplayers at rest. It has been a very difficult time for the NFF; no official of the Federation was happy that the players and officials could not be paid their entitlements immediately after the tournament.
“It is not as if the Federation did not plan to pay theplayers and officials their entitlements. The NFF expected some money from a number of sources but this did not work out. They are champions and deserve to be treated as such; there are no doubts about that,” Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Media and Communications, said on Thursday.
Olajire also stated that there was no time the NFF directed that the players should be ejected from their Agura Hotel, and decried claims that no official went to see the players at the hotel.
“The NFF is at the receiving end of all these, but at the end of the day, fair is fair. Before they left for Cameroon, the country’s Vice President went to meet with them at a training session.
“Also, despite the difficulties, the Federation was able to make the sum of $5,000 available to the Team Administrator for logistics. The NFF President personally visited the team and prayed with them. Before the team played South Africa in the semi finals, the NFF reached out to some sources and raised money to pay each player the sum of N500,000.
“The NFF President was on the tarmac of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos to receive the team and celebrated with them on arrival, impressed it on NFF partner Emzor to host the ladies to lunch and the company gave the team the sum of N1.6 million.
“On arrival in Abuja, the team was received by the NFF General Secretary, Head of Protocol, Head of Women’s Football and the CEO of Jedo (a private organization), Dr. Aliyu Oroje Wammako. The NFF impressed it on the management of Agura Hotel toensure the comfort of the players and officials while the Federation went about trying to raise money to pay their entitlements.”
The NFF spokesman explained that apart from the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung who personally visited the team at their hotel, NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi was at the hotel on two occasions and the Head of Women’s Football, Miss Ruth David has been at the hotel on regular basis.
“After his visit, the Honourable Minister directed that the NFF should look for money to give to the players to take them home. The players appealed that the amount of N50,000 proposed by the Federation should be doubled, and the NFF squeezed out N100,000 to each player and official. Surprisingly, the players said they would no longer leave the hotel even after that payment.
“While the monies paid to the team so far may not amount to much, these are challenging times and we expect the players to understand with the Federation. They did not, but we thank God all these issues are almost behind us.
“This unfortunate situation calls for calm and patience on the part of all. The NFF cannot praise the Presidency enough. The players cannot say that nobody came to see them in the hotel, or that the Federation ordered that they be ejected; that is not correct.
“We passionately appeal to the players not to allow themselves to be used by some persons against the Federation and the Federal Government, as such persons do not mean well forthem and their career.”