Secretary-General of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, Fatma Samoura has said it is because of the Super Falcons that FIFA has decided to pay prize money directly to players.
The FIFA chief who addressed the Nigerian female national team after their 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in Women’s World Cup, noted that she knows it has been tough and that they had to “face the reality of Nigeria.”
She, however, added that for the first time, the prize money would be paid to them – players – because of such realities.
“It is because of you that for the first time in the history of FIFA, the FIFA women world cup prize money will be paid directly to you, the players,” Samoura said, amid cheers from the nine-time African champions.
The team had earlier threatened to go on strike for the first match of the competition against Canada who are also in the middle of a pay dispute with their own FA seeking equal pay and support with the men’s team.
However, Samoura commended the Super Falcons for progressing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, a first-ever for an African team at the competition.
According to the Secretary-General, their feat brought joy to women’s football as a whole with their elegance and self-assuredness on the pitch, as well as African women’s football and the African girl-child.
“I must say that I am proud of you. As you know, I am the first woman to be Secretary General of FIFA since the organisation was founded in 1904, and I am also an African. So, I am easily excited by any accomplishment that glorifies women’s football and African football,” she said.
The FIFA scribe who was in company with Nigeria’s leader of the delegation, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu and others, described the Super Falcons as the “best team of Africa”. She said their performance would inspire other African teams at the tournament.
“You have won one match here, as Morocco and Zambia, but you are the only team that has made it to the knock-out stage yet. I am also excited because when FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced my name as the new FIFA Secretary-General, I was in Nigeria working for the United Nations. So, Nigeria is a second home for me.
“You should continue to believe in yourselves and play as a team, and be ready to lift the African flag higher in this tournament.”
Osasu Obayiuwana, a British-Nigerian journalist, who posted the video on Twitter, noted that Samoura had mandated FIFA’s Director for Africa, Gelson Fernandes, to ensure that the players received the money as she would be leaving soon. Samoura is leaving after seven years as the highest-profile woman working in the world football governing body. However, she will stay in the job through the ongoing Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and leave at the end of the year.
Obayiuwana wrote in a post on his Twitter account: “It is because of you (the @NGSuper_Falcons) that for the first time in the history of @FIFAcom, the #FIFAWWC prize money will be paid directly to you, the players.
@fatma_samoura, @FIFAcom Secretary-General said this to the #Nigeria players in the dressing room of… “Even though @fatma_samoura will be leaving #FIFA in a few months, I am told that @GelsonFernandes, FIFA’s director for Africa, has been given the mandate by her, to ensure that the money is received by the players. “Right now, every @NGSuper_Falcons player is entitled to $60k each.”
Watch the video below: