Nigeria’s women’s national team have finally received their kits for the Ghana 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations on Thursday in Abidjan after they arrived at their training camp in Ivory Coast without their kits.
Eight-time African champions Super Falcons, who are in Group B with Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Zambia, travelled to Abidjan on Tuesday with different attires, with reports alleging that the team had their kits held at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, with just 10 days to their first match against Banyana Banyana in Cape Coast.
Current African Women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala, who wore a LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers shirt, drew wide criticisms from Nigerians on the social media.
It was alleged that the kits were seized because of lack of funds, as the squad was still awaiting the release of funds from the sports ministry.
This was, however, denied by Nneka Anibeze, media aide of sports minister, Solomon Dalung.
“I’m not aware of any issue like that. They (NFF) are an independent body who don’t need interference from the ministry,” she told our correspondent.
However, the Nigeria Football Federation spokesman Ademola Olajire told our correspondent on Thursday that the team have received their kits for the competition.
“Well, they have their kits now. They were delivered to them today (Thursday),” he said in a text.
Meanwhile, a dropped player from the 2018 AWCON has alleged that the team had no training kits while they were camped in Epe, Lagos State.
“The only good thing about the camp was the feeding and the pitch. The conditions under which we trained were bad. We had no kits for training. We wore what we had and some had to share. The balls were not enough at a point but we endured all that for the success of the team,” the player said.
It is not the first time the Super Falcons have been in the news for the wrong reasons at the AWCON.
Twelve years ago, the team remained in their hotel in South Africa for three days after the Nigeria Football Association, as the NFF was then called, failed to pay their bonuses for winning the 2004 edition.
In 2016, the team clinched their eighth African title with a 1-0 win over hosts Cameroon in the final but the victory turned sour after the NFF failed to pay US$17,150 per player for their success.
The team staged a protest in Abuja, where they embarked on a peaceful demonstration outside the National Assembly.
The protest coincided with President Muhammadu Buhari’s arrival at the National Assembly to present the 2017 budget.