Speak out and be blacklisted — Super Falcons stars talk about NFF maltreatment

Super Falcons stars talk about NFF maltreatment

Speak out and be blacklisted — Super Falcons stars talk about NFF maltreatment

Faruq Ibrahim 23:33 - 30.09.2023

The NFF have been accused of blacklisting players who speak against the federation.

Players from the Nigerian contingent at the 2023 women’s World Cup spoke about their struggles against the Nigerian Football Federation, unpaid wages, and how the ruling body sought to silence dissenting voices by blacklisting players.

The Super Falcons shone at the tournament, reaching the Round of 16 and crashing out via penalty shootouts to the eventual finalists, England. Their performance in the competition was met with incredible fanfare, with the world of football impressed by the team’s gutsy run in the tournament.

These celebrations were, however, marred by the bad press that came from unpaid bonus claims, with the NFF accused of owing players.

NFF fail to fulfil contract

As Pulse Sports reported, the Athletic spoke to a number of players and staff from the team and were informed of the debt owed by the federation.

Per the report, each Super Falcons player was due $100 for every day spent in camp during the World Cup, as well as $3,000 per win and $1,500 per draw, totalling almost $10,000 after the tournament, but players have received just over 10% of the money, with little assurance of when or if the rest will be paid.

According to an unnamed source who was part of the Super Falcons’ team at the World Cup, only $1,000 was given to the players in cash, being part of the allowances for 23 days of camp, while an outstanding amount of $1,300, which was meant to be paid into the team members accounts, has yet to arrive more than a month after the end of the tournament.

NFF President Ibrahim Musa Gusau
NFF President Ibrahim Musa Gusau
Super Falcons return to face Sao Tome and Principe after World Cup round of 16 exit- Imago
Super Falcons return to face Sao Tome and Principe after World Cup round of 16 exit- Imago

Players fear being blacklisted 

The players who came forward to reveal these details asked to be unnamed, as they feared the wrath of the federation. According to players on the team, the NFF punishes such perceived dissent by blacklisting individuals, taking them out of contention for the national team.

“When you speak up, then you become the black sheep,” one player said.

The blacklisting allegations had also been confirmed publicly by national team coach Randy Waldrum, who, in a podcast, revealed how the NFF blocked him from naming Desire Oparanozie, who, as captain at the time, revolted against the federation at the 2019 World Cup over unpaid wages.

Nigeria's Desire Oparanozie (Photo Credit/Imago)
Nigeria's Desire Oparanozie (Photo Credit/Imago)

“Desire Oparanozie is one that spoke out at the (2019) World Cup very strongly,” Waldrum told Sounding Off on Soccer with John Krysinsky.

“She was the captain, and she should have spoken out for her teammates. But she spoke out about not getting paid and all the issues that they were going through, and they dismissed her from the team. When I first got in, I called her into camp, and they wouldn’t let me. 

“The president had dismissed her; they didn’t like the way she went to the public and went to the media. She was the leader of the pack, so she was the one that got punished. I convinced the president, later on, maybe six or 10 months into my tenure, to let us bring her back.”

Players must apologise for making demands

Oparanozie was eventually reinstated, as Waldrum explained, and was a member of the team in New Zealand/Australia a few months ago.

However, as revealed by a source in the team, any such return is usually conditioned on a written apology to the federation.

Super Falcons rise in FIFA ranking. (Photo Credit: FIFAWWC/x)
Super Falcons rise in FIFA ranking. (Photo Credit: FIFAWWC/x)

“They are so egocentric; they are so full of themselves," said a Super Falcons player.

 “A player speaks up against all the wrong things they are doing, and then you’re telling the player to write an apology—for what?”

The players are currently working with FIFPro to claim what they are owed by the federation. Also, the Nigerian National Assembly invited the federation to question them about the allegations.

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