By Augustine Akhilomen
10 times the Super Falcons have dominated women’s football in Africa since its inception in 1991 and yet they are made to be received like sheep without a shepherd by the Nigeria Football Federation.
Globally, trophies are meant to be celebrated by any given country considering the fact that it brings prestige, pride, honour and respect to such nation if any of their national teams wins it. Regardless of their gender (Male or female), it’s paramount to recognize their determination, zeal and die-hard attitude for putting the nation’s name on the world map as far as football and winning trophies are concerned.
The Super Falcons went, saw and conquered all their opponents at the just concluded 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, where they defeated host, the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon 1-0 in the final of the tournament to clinched their 10th title.
It was expected that their efforts will be rewarded handsomely by the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, who were in the executive box of the stadium to watch the ladies. However, the two chief actors, who had come in a chartered flight left immediately they awarded medals to them without celebrating with the Falcons.
Sad enough, the team arrived Nigeria without a welcome parade from the NFF officials as they were left like orphans at the Muritala International Airport in Ikeja before moving straight to Abuja, where they were told that the Glass House is cash strap to pay their camp allowances and money accrue to the players due to the economic recession.
Besides, if truly the NFF and Sports Minister can’t solicit for funds to pay the ladies, how then did they get the money to travel to London in order to sign a Nike shirt contract? Is it that the Sports wear company took the bill to themselves to sponsor the Sports Minister or there was a hidden money somewhere which no one knew about?
Regardless of the nation’s economic recession, it’s a sign of disrespect from the part of Pinnick and Dalung to have ignored the ladies demand considering the fact that if it were to be the Super Eagles, Flying Eagles, Dream Team and Golden Eaglets that won any of these major tournament, the whole state in Nigeria would have hosted them in cash and kinds.
The truth is the ladies are not asking too much from the federation except for their camp allowances and other things that will make them happy for donning the green and white colours of Nigeria, of which it shouldn’t have generated into a media thing. Heroes are not meant to be treated in such a way because if tomorrow they fail to win a major title, the same NFF will shift blame on the players and coaching crew.
According to reports, besides the daily allowances and match bonuses put at more than $16,500-a-player, the Falcons are also owed for the 2016 Olympic qualifier against Equatorial Guinea, the AWCON qualifier against Senegal as well as last year’s All Africa Games
There is no doubt that heaven won’t fall if the NFF and Sports Minister decide to pay deaf eyes to their demands, however, posterity will surely judge them because they have laboured for their fatherland and should be rewarded.