The Secretary-General of FIFA, Ms. Fatma Samoura, personally addressed the Super Falcons of Nigeria in their dressing room after their 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland.
She commended the team for their performance and resilience, acknowledging that they had faced challenges in their journey.
Samoura revealed that it was because of players like them that FIFA had decided to pay prize money directly to the players for the first time in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Super Falcons’ participation in the tournament had been marred by disputes over payment, with the players threatening to go on strike.
However, the announcement by FIFA that all players would receive around £15,760 for participating in the group stages of the tournament brought relief to the Nigerian team.
The players had been seeking fair treatment and support from their governing body.
In the midst of their struggles, former Arsenal player and football pundit, Ian Wright, voiced his support for the Super Falcons and urged for them to be paid their due.
He joined the chorus of those calling for fair treatment and equal pay for the players.
Randy Waldrum, the manager of the Nigerian team, had also expressed his frustration over the lack of support and preparation from the Nigerian Football Federation.
Despite the challenges, the Super Falcons made history by progressing to the knockout stage, becoming the first African team to do so in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Samoura, being the first woman to hold the position of FIFA Secretary-General, expressed her pride in the Super Falcons’ accomplishments and their contribution to women’s football and African football.
She encouraged the team to continue believing in themselves and to lift the African flag higher in the tournament.
As Samoura will soon be leaving FIFA, she has mandated FIFA’s Director for Africa, Gelson Fernandes, to ensure that the players receive their prize money directly.
Each Super Falcons player is entitled to $60,000 for their participation in the tournament.
Despite the challenges and controversies surrounding the Super Falcons, their determination and talent have earned them recognition and support from FIFA and football enthusiasts worldwide.
Their accomplishments have paved the way for greater recognition and respect for women’s football in Africa and beyond.