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Update: NFF Reacts To Falconets’ Travails At Turkiye Airport

Nigeria’s Football Federation, NFF has reacted to the travails of the Falconets at the Türkiye airport.

Gatekeepers News had earlier reported that the Nigeria’s Falconets who recently participated at the 2022 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup, have been made to sleep on airport benches, and on the floor of the biting cold airport.

The Falconets after their elimination against the Netherlands had barely three hours to sleep before heading off to the airport, expecting to arrive home within a day or two.

According to team officials, their tickets were booked for Tuesday evening on Avianca.

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.

Despite the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF having an official kit supplier, the young ladies were not supplied 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.

However, NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire in a statement said that the flight was supposed to be booked by the organising body, FIFA.

The statement read, “For reason of setting the records straight, this is what happened. NFF DID NOT book tickets.

“The World Cup is a FIFA tournament. FIFA booked tickets for the team to travel from Bogota to Panama, but for some reason, the flight to Panama was delayed for 3 hours.

“There was another 1 hour delay at the airport in Panama.By the time the team got to Istanbul, the flight to Abuja had left.

“The NFF officials pleaded that the team be given transit visas at the airport so they could head to a hotel in the town, but this was not possible as Nigeria had been removed from the list of countries granted transit visas at Istanbul Airport.

“So, the airline took the team to a sleeping area at the airport and handed them tickets to have meals after every 5 hours.

“It is is sad but this has nothing to do with NFF, who had made necessary arrangements to receive the team on arrival in Abuja before the flight hitches.”

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