Nineteen years after leading the Super Falcons to their sixth Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title at the 2004 edition in South Africa, coach Godwin Izilein has expressed displeasure at the Nigeria Football Federation’s refusal to pay him his $12,000 for winning the title, insisting it’s a “deliberate action”, Sunday PUNCH reports.
Izilein said his pleas to the federation over the years fell on deaf ideas.
In 2004, the Ibrahim Galadima-led NFF board refused to pay Izilein his entitlements after the Falcons staged a protest refusing to leave their hotel rooms for the airport after winning the WAFCON title.
The players insisted on getting their camp allowances and winning bonuses in Johannesburg before the trip back home, but federation officials believed the girls were instigated by Izilein to down tools.
Speaking with Sunday PUNCH , Izilein said, “Since 2004 that they have owed me, I have not heard from the NFF.
“It’s a pity that I may not get the money again. It’s over 19 years that the NFF are yet to pay me the $12,000 and the N2m promised me by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“I have not seen anything. I made up my mind not to talk about this outstanding money again because I see it as deliberate action against me, if the girls I took to the war front and survived are paid, I, the General, ought to have been paid as well before anyone.
“What is my offence, since they refused to pay me my money? I did not do anything wrong. The girls said they were not coming back to Nigeria because they were owed by the NFF. I was on my knees begging them, I did not care if they were my daughters.
“I told them that a different meaning will be read into this action. It is easy to say the coaches are responsible and that was exactly what it turned out to be but it’s not fair to me and I feel very bad.”
Izilein also told Sunday PUNCH that he is owed 22-and-a-half months’ salaries by Bendel Insurance.
The 81-year-old, who coached Insurance between 2007 and 2009, said he used part of his retirement benefits to ensure the club kept going during his tenure.
“I was employed in 2007 by Bendel Insurance. With all humility, I did my job because I wanted to leave a mark there.
“They came up with the feeling that there was no money. I had to dip into my retirement benefits to ensure that the club was run properly with a promissory note that all my money will be paid when things got back to normal.
“But I only got one-and-a-half months of the 24 months I worked there.
“So, when the state government took over the assets and liabilities of the club, I was happy with the hope that the assets and liabilities will be taken over too.
“But till date, nothing has been done and it’s sad. It pains me a lot that when I come out to do a good job, the end result is always punishment, maybe it is my luck.”