Global players’ union FIFPro has confirmed it is assisting Nigeria‘s women’s national team with its pursuit of bonus payments, camp allowances and expenses dating back to 2021.
In a statement released a day after the Super Falcons were eliminated from the Women’s World Cup in a penalty shootout defeat to England, FIFPro said the team were “frustrated” with needing to pursue the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) over the matter before and during the tournament.
“It is regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers,” the statement read.
The union said Nigeria’s players had refrained from making public comments on their dispute with the federation during the World Cup but believe now is the time for the NFF to honour their commitments and pay what the players are owed.
“I’ve seen what [resources] England have access to,” forward Ifeoma Onumonu told The Guardian after the defeat to England. “In Nigeria, we don’t have access to much. Our training fields aren’t great. Where we sleep isn’t great. Sometimes we share beds.
“It’s not good enough. In terms of recovery, we don’t have much of any of that. We don’t have access to a gym in camp in Nigeria.
“There’s a lot that needs to be done. Hopefully more people will start to talk about it. Coming here it’s hard to adjust. We do what we can because we love playing for our country but hopefully they make it easier for us to do our best.”
Despite being perennial African powers, Nigeria have long clashed with their federation over resourcing and equitable treatment. The team staged sit-ins at their hotel at the 2019 World Cup and the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in protest over an alleged lack of payments they said they were owed by the NFF.
Reports ahead of the World Cup said that upon arriving in Brisbane, Australia, for a pre-tournament camp, the players were informed that the bonuses that had been earmarked for play had been cancelled as the $30,000 sum each player would receive from FIFA for competing — a figure that rose to $60,000 upon their qualification for the round of 16 — would be sufficient.
That conflict occurred in parallel with a stand-off between coach Randy Waldrum and the NFF over his appearances on two podcasts in which he criticised the federation’s handling and support of the squad, stated he too was owed money in wages, and accused his employers of interfering in squad selection and coaching. Ademola Olajire, the NFF’s communications director, responded by labelling the American coach the “worst Super Falcons coach in history” and a “blabbermouth.”
Despite these distractions, the Super Falcons advanced to the knockout stages of the World Cup as the second-placed finisher in Group B after recording draws with Canada and the Republic of Ireland as well as a 3-2 win over Australia.
“I take away that we can be, and probably should be, one of the top teams in the world,” Waldrum said after the England loss. “I certainly hope that FIFA ranking goes from 42 to a better number. More importantly, I think we’ve just shown that we’re capable of playing with anybody.
“We gave everything. I certainly hope that people back in Nigeria appreciate the job that they’ve done while they’re here, and I would hope that they’re happy, not upset
“I think we made the country proud and, hopefully, around the world.”