The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has promised to pay the victorious Super Falcons, but that will be when they have the cash to pay them.
NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, who met with the players and officials of the African champions at the Agura Hotel yesterday, said the federation is not happy owing players and coaches, but present severe economic challenges inform that it can only continue to seek the understanding of these persons, as well as hoteliers, travel agents and management and staff until the situation improves.
“There is no gainsaying that there is severe economic challenges and all organisations, whether government or private, are feeling the pinch. It is not government’s doing; it is not anybody’s doing. We know we have financial commitment to you (players and officials of Super Falcons) and we have not at any time stated otherwise. But the money is not readily available at the moment,” he told the team.
“I have come to appeal to you, to understand the situation of the federation, to understand the situation of the country at the present and exercise patience.
“We will pay you all monies you are being owed as soon as we receive same from the government, just as we paid the Under-17 boys who won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile last year, after the tournament. And just as we sorted out Coach Samson Siasia’s wages as soon as we had the funds, after the Olympics.”
Sanusi also recalled that the Super Eagles were owed monies for the match against Tanzania and were paid when funds for that match was made available by government.
“As I speak with you, we are still owing the Super Eagles for the matches against Zambia and Algeria, but the memos have gone to government and are being looked at,” he said.
“We must commend the Hon. Minister (Solomon Dalung). He has been energetically pushing the cases of the various national teams. We did the memo for the Women Africa Cup of Nations in October and it is being processed as we speak.”
Stating that the NFF has embarked on aggressive drive to find a permanent solution to the issue of owing players and coaches, Sanusi said corporate players are now lending a listening ear to the NFF leadership and the federation’s finances would soon improve.
“We are also working to get monies outstanding from former sponsors of the national teams, to complement what we are expecting from government.
“In relation to all these, we are in the process of sorting out our TSA domiciliary accounts so that we can receive our due grants from FIFA and CAF, including the $80,000 prize money from the AWCON, once it is available.”
But in her reaction to the inability of the NFF to pay, USA-based forward Francisca Ordega has regretted playing for the Super Falcons, saying she would have opted for another country because of the lack of support for women’s football in Nigeria.
Ordega won her third women’s AFCON in Cameroon last weekend and has also represented Nigeria at Under-17 and Under-20 levels, but she said the neglect of women’s football by the country is most regrettable.
“If I had not played for Nigeria at full international level, trust me I would have played somewhere else,” a frustrated Ordega blasted.
“The U17 and U20 teams have been blamed for the performances at their recent World Cups, but they were poorly prepared for these competitions.
“If this continues, Nigeria will soon cease to be a force in Africa because there will be no future Super Falcons.”