Nigeria U-20 women’s national team Falconets have been left stranded in Turkey for 24 hours after their shocking exit at the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
Pictures of the girls sleeping on the floor and benches at the Istanbul airport are all over social media with different commentaries.
But what exactly happened?
Former Super Eagles’ former media officer, Collin Udoh explained how they missed their connecting flight despite starting the trip to Nigeria by 6:30 am Monday.
“According to team officials, their tickets were booked for Tuesday evening on Avianca,” said Collin.
“But the Colombian flag carrier rebooked the team on Turkish Air leading to a four-hour delay in Colombia. That, coupled with a stop in Panama meant the team missed their Tuesday connection flight.
“NFF’s Leader of Delegation Ruth David tried in vain to ask the airline for accommodation, but without transit visas, the pleas accomplished nothing and the team were forced to spend 24 hours at the airport awaiting their connecting flight to Abuja.”
Collin also revealed that during the tournament Falconets were provided with limited jerseys and had no official footwear.
“Player sources say the team were provided very limited equipment, with just three sets of their green home kit and two sets of the white away kit. This meant the players had to wash their jerseys by hand after every game and were unable to exchange jerseys.
“Worse, despite the NFF having an official kit supplier, the young ladies were not supplied with official footwear and were asked instead to buy their own footwear.
“And so the players – who are only getting paid $50 as daily match allowance and no bonuses – borrowed money to buy Nike sneakers and playing boots.”
With the level of insecurity in the country, the NFF should have made a proper arrangement for the girls to journey to their different locations from Abuja.
But they are only provided with N40k as transport allowances to enable their journey back to their various locations.
“But their struggles will not end when they arrive in Abuja. The players have been given N40 000 each as a local transport allowance.
“Meaning that after three days of grueling travel, they would have to travel by road (or train) from Abuja to whatever state their final destination is.”