GOOD

Why Nigeria’s National Soccer Team Refuses To Leave Its Hotel

The Africa Cup champions aren’t budging

After winning the prestigious Women’s Africa Cup of Nations this month, Nigeria’s national soccer team is refusing to leave the Agura Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria—the nation’s capital—where the team has staged a sit-in to protest the government’s refusal to pay outstanding allowances and bonuses. Players have been camping out for 10 days and say they won’t leave until they receive the $23,650 reportedly owed to each woman.


“This is a fight about the welfare of the team. It’s about the way the team has been handled over the years,” Nigeria and Arsenal forward Asisat Oshoala told BBC Sport. “We are champions. We went out to fight for the nation even without being paid. Not everything is about money, but of course it is an issue.”

The Super Falcons, as the team is commonly known, are financially supported by the government-funded Nigerian Football Federation. The NFF claims its budget is tight since Nigeria entered a recession this summer, but the federation has been struggling monetarily since earlier this spring, when it slashed men’s and women’s national team coaching salaries and staff sizes. Women’s coach Florence Omagbemi and her assistants have only received a month’s worth of salary since March.

“The NFF is not happy owing players and coaches, but present severe economic challenges (mean) that it can only continue to seek the understanding of these persons ... until the situation improves,” NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi said in a statement. “We know we have financial commitment to you and we have not at any time stated otherwise.”

The team doesn’t seem to buy the hopeful rhetoric. For one, the Super Falcons have been here before—the team refused to leave a hotel in South Africa for three days in 2004 over outstanding bonuses. The NFF also is a frequent critic of the women’s national team, accusing players of “morally reprehensible” homosexuality (same-sex relationships are banned in Nigeria) and blaming sponsorship deficiencies on this alleged reputation of sexual promiscuity—which has largely been perpetuated by homophobic complaints by these same senior officials. In June, the NFF’s vice president argued that “lesbianism kills teams.”

“Contrary to what was said in that statement, Mr. Sanusi used some strong words during our meeting,” a player who requested anonymity told BBC Sports. “The only thing we understand right now is for them to pay and stop making promises.”

UPDATE: Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari arrived at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday morning to present the government budget for the next fiscal year. Outside the parliament building, women’s national team players protested with signs demanding their bonuses and allowances.

Later players marched to President Buhari’s villa, where they met with his chief of staff Malam Abba Kyari, who reportedly told the team that the situation will be resolved within two days. Players have returned to the hotel to wait for this promise to be fulfilled, according to BBC.

Sports
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health