Weak World Cup preparation by the NFF and Super Falcons

Jul 17, 2023 | Sports | 0 comments

The Super Falcons, Africa’s most successful female national team, are in chaos as they prepare for the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Morocco represent Africa in the tournament.

Nonetheless, the squad, no stranger to disputes over inadequate preparation and compensation, is in another unnecessary storm between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum.

In an interview with “On The Whistle,” Waldrum challenged NFF, alleging he was due 14 months of pay until a few weeks ago when the NFF paid for seven months.

Waldrum coaches Pitt Women’s Soccer.

In October 2022, FIFA gave every World Cup qualifiers $960,000 to prepare.

The coach also noted players owing incentives from 2021.

“It’s been difficult in recent weeks and months with the federation and lack of assistance at many levels.

“We had five international windows during these previous months to get ready.

But the challenging aspect is that we are scheduled to hold a camp in Nigeria for 10 or 12 days before flying to Australia for 15 days.

But, the federation cancelled the Nigeria camp.

“I had to choose the final 23 based on the previous camp instead of being able to look at all the guys again and bring in a few more,” he added.

The NFF, via Demola Olajire, accused Waldrum of ineptitude.

“He is an inept loudmouth who has found his voice now that he is going to realise his single aim of guiding a national team to the women’s World Cup,” Olajire said.

The federation hinted at spending the $960 FIFA payment.

FIFA prepares every World Cup squad.

“The squad played in Japan, Mexico, and Turkey. Is Mr. Waldrum paying for trips?”

In a leaked phone call, Olajire accused Waldrum of bad judgement, squad selection, and prejudice against home-based players.

The NFF was also accused of suggesting that FIFA would pay the players’ incentives with the $30,000 it set aside for each participant in the first round of the competition.

When teams improve, FIFA will pay more.

The players and federation have fought about this.

Football fans feel the NFF should not absolve itself.

Super Falcons protested the NFF’s bonus non-payment during the 2019 tournament in France.

A player told the press they were entitled to allowances for matches played two and three years before and World Cup five-day camp incentives.

After losing to Morocco in the semi-finals at last year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), players refused to practice for their third-place match against Zambia over unpaid allowances.

After winning the continental championship for the seventh time in 2016, players only left their Abuja hotel if they were given their allowances and incentives.

Football fans claim ongoing disagreements about inadequate preparation and the inability to pay allowances and incentives before every big tournament affect the team’s spirit and performance.

Despite having some of the best players in the world, the Super Falcons are 40th in the globe and first in Africa.

The squad reached the quarterfinals in 1999.

South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Zambia, and Cote D’Ivoire threaten Super Falcon’s continental supremacy.

Considered favourites in last year’s WAFCON in Morocco, the previous champions finished fourth, earning the last African ticket to Australia and New Zealand.

Women’s football fans worry that the Super Falcons might diminish if the NFF doesn’t clean up its act.

Some say the federation’s treatment of the Super Falcons is gendered, while others point out that the Super Eagles are treated similarly.

The NFF and Super Eagles disagreed over match bonuses at the past AFCON.

“In 2019, former President Muhammadu Buhari had to conduct a full-scale probe into the Super Eagles players’ underpaid match bonuses and entitlements during the AFCON in Egypt.

“So, the gaps you see the national teams face before important tournaments have nothing to do with whether it’s the male or female team,” one ex-Super Eagles player stated.

The Falcons play Canada in Group B on July 21.

If the team fails, Waldrum and the NFF’s irascible exchanges will be cited by home fans. (NANFeatures)

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