Players and officials of the national women’s team, Super Falcons, had their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualification celebration cut short following their return to Nigeria late on Wednesday.
Randy Wuldrum's women defeated the Lady Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 in Abidjan to book their ticket for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Jet-lagged from a two-hour flight back to Nigeria around midnight, the heroes were reduced to tears when officials at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, held them for about three painstaking hours.
According to PremiumTimes, the team was delayed due to COVID-19 clearance at the airport, despite multiple tests conducted before the game and possibly, before their flight back home.
An unnamed official of the Super Falcons alleged that the airport officials demanded bribes from the squad to grant them clearance.
“Super Falcons players and officials after arriving in Nigeria at 12 midnight, were delayed for over three hours at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja on issues of COVID-19 clearance as the airport officials demanded bribes to clear the team that already took the mandatory Covid test to return home after the victory against Cote d’Ivoire,” one of the officials alleged.
Reacting, coach Randy Waldrum said: “This is very frustrating, we had a two-hour flight from Ivory Coast and we have been in this room for almost two and a half hours.
“It is very frustrating to come back home and the players have to go through this. This is nonsense, all these COVID rules… we have already taken the test multiple times to be able to play the game, so I don’t really understand it, but it is very frustrating.”