Ex-international and Super Eagles defender, Sam Sodje, has chided the Secretary-General of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Ms Fatma Samoura, for disparaging the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) as being dishonest.
In a statement obtained from the England-born footballer on Wednesday in Warri, Delta State, the former Special Adviser to former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Sports took exception to the manner Samoura went to address the Super Falcons in their dressing room as regards payment of money accruing to them from FIFA.
Ms Samoura reportedly told players that FIFA has decided to pay their prize money directly to them rather than through the NFF.
The FIFA secretary general addressed the Super Falcons after their 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in their dressing room, noting that she knows “it has been tough” and that they had to “face the reality of Nigeria.”
Reacting viciously to the statement, Sodje, a former Tottenham Hotspur FC player expressed shock, saying it was uncalled for.
“I read with total shock, the statement purportedly made by FIFA Federation Secretary in the dressing room of the Super Falcons of Nigeria at the ongoing Women World Cup.
“A FIFA official need not make this disparaging statement openly because those who were in charge of football administration in Nigeria when FIFA noticed this problem should have be sanctioned and not for him to come out so disrespectful and completely to castigate and to implicate my dear country, a nation that has contributed so much to football without trying to investigate the genesis or the beginning of this said problem.
“The Federation Secretary should understand that Nigeria, as a country, has very serious and honest sports administrators that can hold their position anywhere in the world, as such he needs to give the required respect and decorum in his utterances while at the same time not instigating our dedicated young girls in an unnecessary disrespect to Nigeria as a country, but to also look inward in addressing the shortcomings within FIFA and the officials that are at present working within FIFA as a body.
“There are currently new breed of Sports administrators supported by young ex-footballers that have gone through the required training and who have made themselves available to serve for the sole purpose of moving the Sports sector forward in Nigeria with the full support of the new generation states governors that have seriously decided to recruit ex-sports men and women in their different states sports administrations.
“What Nigeria and, in fact, Africa needs now is encouragement and not castigations.
“FIFA needs to respect Nigeria and Africa because we, as a nation and a continent, have contributed so much to world football and the growth of FIFA as an organization,” he averred
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