The Super Falcons of Nigeria are reportedly planning to stage a strike and boycott their opening game of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Soccernet.ng reports.
This decision comes after the General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr Mohammed Sanusi, informed the players that the federation had cancelled their match bonuses for the competition.
Following the announcement, senior players, including captain Onome Ebi, Rasheedat Ajibade, Asisat Oshoala, Ohale Osinachi, Tochukwu Oluehi, and Desire Oparanozie, held a meeting upon their arrival at the Mercure Resorts, Gold Coast, per Punch Nigeria.
During this meeting, they decided to press for their demands and were willing to go as far as missing their first game against Canada on July 21.
The players reportedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision made by the NFF. Before they departed from Abuja for Australia, Sanusi had informed them that the federation would not pay them match bonuses since FIFA had already announced that each player would receive $30,000 in the tournament’s group stage.
Additionally, the players were informed that they would no longer receive 30% of the $1,560,000 FIFA grant allocated to member associations for the competition’s group stage.
The unexpected news left the players shocked and demoralized. They questioned whether FIFA would deduct the $30,000 given to each player from the $1.5 million grant received by the federation, to which Sanusi responded negatively.
The players argued that if the $30,000 would not be deducted from the federation’s funds, it should not affect their match bonuses. However, Sanusi gave them a choice between the $9,000 match bonus and the $30,000 from FIFA.
The source dismissed reports that American team coach Randy Waldrum had instigated the players to stage a coup against the federation.
The players emphasized that their protest was driven by their long-standing mistreatment and injustice, and not influenced by external factors.
They expressed their determination to fight for their rights and bring attention to their plight ahead of the competition.
The Super Falcons have a history of bonus disputes at international competitions, including staging a sit-in protest after their 2016 WAFCON victory and refusing to leave South Africa after winning the 2004 WAFCON there.
Desire Oparanozie, a striker, was later relieved of her captaincy and expelled from the team after organising a bonus protest at the 2019 World Cup. The team also skipped workouts while competing in Morocco for the WAFCON the previous year.
However, the NFF General Secretary and President Ibrahim Gusau have not yet responded to questions about the situation.
Nonetheless, the Super Falcons are adamant that the treatment they have received in the past will end and that their demands will be honoured this time.