‘FIFA booked the tickets’ – NFF blames FIFA for Falconets sleeping on the floor of Istanbul airport
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have responded to reports of the national under 20 team known as Falconets sleeping at the airport in Istanbul, Turkey.
After a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the Falconets left Costa Rica.
The team had to stay 24 hours at the Istanbul Airport as the NFF was unable to secure transit visas for players and officials.
The Amaju Pinnick led NFF has now explained the details that resulted in the players embarrassing situation in Turkey.
According to the NFF, the Falconets travel details from Costa Rica were down to the world football governing body.
NFF on Istanbul airport
The message by NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said, “The NFF did not book the team’s tickets from Costa Rica; FIFA did.
“FIFA also did not envisage the hitches that saw the team delayed for more than three hours in Bogota, and another one hour in Panama. By the time the team got to Istanbul, the flight to Abuja had left.
“Our officials pleaded for compassionate transit visas so as to take the players and officials to a hotel inside the town, but this was not possible as they were informed that Nigeria had been removed from the list of countries whose citizens were issued visa-on-arrival in Turkey.
“The airline then took the team to a sleeping area at the airport and gave them tickets to have meals every five hours.
“This situation has nothing to do with NFF, who had made arrangements to receive the team in Abuja before the complications in travel arrangements.”
NFF on jerseys and boots
Sanusi also addressed the issue of the Falconets washing their jerseys and paying for their footwear.
He said, “The players were handed three sets of green jerseys and two sets of white jerseys, several house-wear types and training jerseys.
“The players opted to wash only their jersey top (no other stuff) because when the first set of body-wear was sent to the laundry people at the hotel, it returned with some FIFA and NFF badges at the front and names at the back peeled by the machine.”