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2023 FIFA Women's WC Group B: Why Super Falcons Celebrated the Goalless Draw Versus Canada

July, 21 2023.

It is no more news that the nation's senior women's football team, the Super Falcons in the early hours of Friday earned a valuable point, in their goalless draw with reigning Olympic Champions, Canada.

Captain and goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie was by a mile the woman-of-the Group B encounter, in which the Canadians dominated the midfield, with a possession of 68% as against the 38% of the Falcons who were basically defensive, all through the second half.

Nnadozie, the number one goalkeeper of France Division 1 side, Paris FC capped a remarkable world cup debut by showed superb reflex and athletitism while applying a double save, from the penalty spot; and that was the peak of the day's action.

But the Falcons who finished the encounter with 10-women, following a late red card given to Deborah Abiodun had to defend deep, while being outplayed by the Olympic Gold Medalists in the second half.

There celebrations as soon as the final whistle sounded was however questioned by some pundits and commentators, on Social Media; who reasoned that the nine-time African Champions, needed not to celebrate a draw openly.

But reacting to the criticisms, a source from the Super Falcons camp said it was natural to be that jubilant after emerging unsketheted against one of the best teams in the tournament; especially after the so many distractions the team had lately.

The Falcons, prior to Friday's game were said to be planning a boycott of their group opener, to protest their unpaid bonuses and other sundry allowances. The team was also on the mend after a topsy-turvy

altercation between their Head Coach, Randy Waldrum and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) hierarchy, on issues like players selection, and non-release of FIFA's grant, meant for the team's preparation for the Mundial.

But none of these distractions adversely affected the Falcons; who were also without two suspended key-players Rasheedat Ajibade and Halimatu Ayinde on Friday.

Meanwhile, a report that surfaced in some Social Media platforms, on Friday afternoon, that FIFA has opted to pay each of the 23 Super Falcon players the $30,000 participation fee, directly to their individual accounts; have been debunked as "unfounded, untrue and baseless".

An earlier report had it that the NFF had warned the players not to dare report the federation to the global umbrella union for professional Fifpro, on account that the NFF has told them clearly, that no other Kobo would be paid to them as bonuses, other than what they will get from football's world governing body FIFA.

Our source insisted that FIFA will in keeping with its tradition, pay the said fees to all the players at the World Cup, through the 32 federations and not directly to the players; as FIFA does not deal with players.

Asked if FIFA decided to alter its own tenets, to create a special dispensation because of the lack of trust between the Super Falcons players and the NFF; or that Fifpro on their own decided to take up the case; we were told neither scenerio is the case. Moreover, due to the factionalized players association in the country, Nigeria has ceased to be a member of Fifpro and has got no lucus to approach them.

At the 2006 World Cup held in Germany, FIFA opted to pay Emmanuel Adebayor led Hawks of Togo players directly, when the players backed by their coach, Otto Pfister were adamant that they won't play their second and third group games, because of pay dispute with the Togolese federation.

But on a closer look, we found that the money in question was the bonuses already agreed-on by the parties, to be sourced from FIFA as appearance fees, normally given to all participating federations (not players), after the tournament.

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