Penultimate Thursday, the Super Falcons players were detained by the staff of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC for four hours at the Abuja International Airport on their return from Cote d’Ivoire.
The Falcons were denied access to the city after qualifying the country for the 12th African Women Cup of Nations; after defeating the Lady Elephants by a lone goal in Abidjan to win 3-0 on aggregate.
The Coach Randy Waldrum-tutored girls won the first leg in Nigeria three weeks ago at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja by 2-0 courtesy of Onumonu Ifeoma’s brace.
We gathered that the girls and officials arrived the stadium by 12.30am only to be denied entry because they were said to have failed to produce fresh covid-19 tests, despite showing their vaccination cards, it took the intervention of the top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation before they were released.
Meanwhile, the embarrassment at the Airport is disturbing and at the same time disgraceful for the national team to have been treated that way.
After a two-hour flight, the girls were very tired while some of them were reported to have lied on bare floor, others were said to be shedding tears. Recalled that this is not the first time the team is being embarrassed. The girls were also embarrassed when a fan verbally attacked the team in a train in Austria.
One wonders the trauma the girls must have gone through during the period despite qualifying. Only the Almighty God knows how they would have felt if they had lost the match and failed to qualify for AWCON, they would have thought that it was stage-managed by either the NFF or the Sports Ministry.
However, even though the NCDC officials committed blunders, there is need to find lasting solutions to the numerous embarrassments being experienced by the national teams.
Recalled that there was a time when the jerseys of the national team were forgotten by the staff of the NFF, only for tract suits to be cut to the size of shorts and jerseys.
Not also forgetting the featuring of a player after accumulating cards and suspended for the next match. Those are just few of the many embarrassments. There is need for the NFF to put competent persons in charge of things to avoid subsequent embarrassments.
The men at the Airport especially the NCDC should also be properly trained on how to manage people to avoid bringing embarrassment to the country because you never can tell who they will embarrass next – maybe it will be the Super Eagles or even FIFA Delegate that might be coming to inspect one or two things for the hosting of a tournament. A stitch in time saves nine.