Abuja, Nigeria | AFP |
A sit-in protest by the Nigerian women’s team stretched into a sixth day at an Abuja hotel on Friday as the players vowed not to give in until bonuses and other allowances are paid.
They began their protest after arriving on Sunday from Cameroon, fresh from winning the African championship for a record eight times to make the Super Falcons the continent’s most successful women’s team.
As well as daily allowances and match bonuses put at more than $16,500 per player from their Cameroon triumph, the players say the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) owes them money for a 2016 Olympic qualifier, an African championship qualifier and last year’s All-Africa Games.
“We don’t trust them. This is our money and we must collect it before we leave this hotel as we do not trust them to pay us if we accepted their pleas,” said one of the players, who did not want her name published.
“They want us to leave this hotel, but we know those monies are gone the moment we agree to leave this place. They know it and we do too, so we’re staying put.”
Assistant Osinachi Ohale said the players were deeply hurt when NFF president Amaju Pinnick threatened to report them to their various overseas clubs over the debacle.
“He said so many things that angered us, including that he will report us to our clubs if we are bent on disgracing Nigeria,” Ohale told AFP.
“This was not what he was telling us when he addressed us in Abuja before we left for Cameroon (for the women’s championship).”
Nigerian football authorities say players and officials behind the demonstration will be sanctioned.
Sports minister Solomon Dalung visited the team on Thursday to plead with them to call off their sit-in protest, while assuring them that they would soon be paid.