Super Falcons Striker Ifeoma Onumonu Speaks Out on Nigeria’s Struggles Following Women’s World Cup Loss to England

Super Falcons Striker Ifeoma Onumonu Speaks Out on Nigeria’s Struggles Following Women’s World Cup Loss to England

In a heartfelt revelation, Ifeoma Onumonu, the dynamic striker of the Super Falcons, has candidly shared her thoughts on the challenging conditions faced by the Nigerian team after their valiant effort in the Women’s World Cup, where they bowed out to England in a tense penalty shootout during the last-16 clash, resulting in a 4-2 scoreline.

Speaking exclusively to The Guardian, Onumonu, who led the charge for the African side against the formidable Lionesses, underscored the striking disparities in the support and resources available to both teams in their respective home countries.

“In my eyes, I’ve witnessed the contrasting provisions that England enjoys. Regrettably, we do not have the same privileges in Nigeria,” she lamented.

“Our training grounds leave much to be desired. Our accommodations are far from ideal; at times, we find ourselves sharing beds. This is simply not up to par. Our recovery options are limited, and access to a proper gym within our Nigerian training camp is a luxury we are denied. There is a significant amount that urgently requires improvement.”

At the age of 29 and representing Gotham FC, Onumonu also revealed the challenges her team faced in adapting to the tournament’s demanding conditions in Australia and New Zealand.

“We put forth every effort we can, driven by our unwavering love for representing our nation. However, I fervently hope that the conditions can be made more conducive for us to give our absolute best. Back home, the playing fields are less than desirable, with rocky terrain and uneven patches. Even the stadium where we qualify might raise eyebrows,” she shared.

Onumonu further disclosed the unsettling experiences of the under-20 team, who found themselves spending 24 hours in airports after their exit from the U20 World Cup quarter-finals last year.

“This reality is simply unacceptable. Our fight extends beyond just ourselves,” she asserted passionately.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been subject to substantial criticism for shortcomings such as delayed player payments, inadequate facilities, the cancellation of pre-tournament training camps, and undue interference in selection matters and staffing decisions.

In a significant development earlier this week, the global players’ union FIFPRO issued a statement pledging support to the Nigeria Women’s National team in their ongoing dispute. The statement conveyed their intention to assist the players in their pursuit of unpaid bonus payments, camp allowances, and expenses that have been pending since 2021.

While the Super Falcons expressed a desire to remain focused on their performance during the World Cup and avoid distractions, they now firmly believe it’s time for the NFF to uphold its obligations and settle the outstanding dues. The situation has understandably caused frustration, as the players find themselves compelled to challenge their own federation at a pivotal juncture in their careers.

FIFPRO remains committed to collaborating closely with the players to ensure their contractual rights are respected and the long-overdue payments are resolved, reaffirming their dedication to the well-being and rights of women athletes on the global stage.

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