The Federal Government on Thursday gave a new insight into its inability to pay the allowances of the Super Falcons, saying that it did not know that they would win the 2016 African Women Nation’s Cup Trophy.
Sports Minister Solomon Dalung told State House correspondents that had the government been confident that the team would win the trophy, the process of paying their entitlements would have been planned.
The Super Falcons, who crushed their Cameroonian counterparts on Saturday to emerge victorious, had reportedly seized the trophy following the inability of the Nigerian Football Federation to pay their bonuses and allowances.
“Don’t forget that nobody even knew the team would emerge victorious. If we were confident they would emerge victorious, all the federation would have done is to plan for process of participation and entitlement. And when they win, it’s already established in sports tradition that when you win, this is what you’re entitled to.
“The situation is highly unfortunate and I don’t like it. These girls have given confidence to women who want to embrace sports. So, this will go a long way in killing this laudable achievement. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll make sure the right thing is done,” he stated.
He regretted that the players were still owed at the time their victory was being celebrated having “stamped their authority and dominance over football in the continent, having consistently won the trophy eight times.”
The minister explained that if the poor management of some administrative lapses had been explained to the players, their feelings would not have been so bitter.
He assured that the government was working round the clock to ensure that the players get their legitimate entitlements.
“After the girls came back from Cameroon, we had a lunch with them and they were in high spirits; the communication gap in trying to convey the situation to them could have been what led to it,” he said.
The minister noted that government’s process requires that a request for funds for sporting projects must come earlier to meet the objectives.
Dalung, who said the team’s coaches had also not been paid for a long time, stressed that the nation’s football administration deserved an urgent surgery, warning that “If that surgery is not done, we’ll always live with the embarrassment.”
“I’m talking about the governance of football administration in Nigeria. Government has to do the surgery because it has been at the receiving end of the embarrassment. We must be prepared to do this to save the future of football in Nigeria. We must come together to find solutions to see how these issues can be tackled,” he added.