A prominent Nigerian football administrator, Barr. Paul Edeh, has predicted that Nigeria’s Super Falcons have what it takes to surmount the hurdles when they face the Lionesses of England in the last 16 of the ongoing Women’s World Cup on Monday.
Barr. Edeh who spoke while appearing on Kaakaki, an early morning show on AIT, Friday, said he had expressed confidence that the team led by coach Randy Waldrum will reach the knockout stage despite certain prevailing distractions surrounding them while preparing for the quadrenial competition cohosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking on the mode and measure of payments for footballers, Edeh, the incumbent Chairman of Benue State Football Association (BSFA) and President of Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) canvassed for pay parity between the men and women soccer lads.
He particularly said the onus lies on the World football governing body, FIFA, to champion the course of ensuring that both men and women enjoy equal salary and bonus payments.
“I have been a proponent of parity of allowances for both men and women. But ofcourse, I understand the argument that men’s competitions bring more money because football is business not charity, but the fact remains that the rules governing football, for both men and women are same.
“I actually like the fact that FIFA is working towards bridging the existing gap. The world football body needs to really work with the member Federation to make it a reality because aside the monetary value, the time of play and all the onfieled stuff are same.
“The women have done so much in the game and FIFA needs to ensure this parity idea works because it’s giving the world governing body bad name… I believe that on or before the next World Cup in 2027, the issue would have been addressed,” he said.
On the raging controversy surrounding payment of bonuses to participating players at the ongoing World Cup, the seasoned administrator said, “The FIFA Secretary-General must have made the statement credited to her at the dressing room of Super Falcons as a way of encouraging and motivating the players at that time.
“I want to believe that FIFA will need to consider at a better forum where the issue will be addressed, because paying players directly will be an indictment on FIFA and member Federations.
“In any case, I like what is happening to the women game because it kind of deepens discussion and FIFA as a body has an aspect of its emphasis that dwells on the need to be transparent and accountable in administering football.
“The issue which is in the front burner as long as the ongoing Women’s World Cup is, is not supposed to make it look like NFF is corrupt because even the Federation hardly have funds to carry out their activities. Whatever that would have happened in the past is by the way. The current NFF leadership led by Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau has done so well so far in its effort to development women football despite meagre resources available to the Federation.
“If there are series of complaints against any Federation, it offers FIFA an opportunity to ensure and emphasis the need for accountability.”
He then commended the performance of African teams so far in the tournament, and reckoned that investments made over the years in the development of women football is beginning to pay off.
Aside Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco are two other African countries that also made it to the round of 16 of the competition.
Only Zambia among four African sides which qualified for the mundial couldn’t make it pass the first phase.