By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, Nigeria

Pelican Stars’ Assistant Captain, Chinenye Okafor said that the club ma1nagement, Cross River commissioner of Sports and Governor are yet to attend to their plight.
The most successful club in the history of Nigeria Women Football League, NWFL with seven league titles are being owed 10 months’ salaries and recently embarked on a protest at the entrance of Governor Ben Ayade’s office.

The Assistant Captain said that she alongside the club captain, has made attempts at reaching out to the club management but there is still no news yet as far as payment of their salaries is concerned.

“There is no news about the payment of our salaries. We are just here. We have not heard anything from the Commissioner of Sports. I called captain Odo Williams, who is an indigene of this state and she said that she has not heard anything from the management. We called the Chairman of the team and he said that the senior players should come and meet him at the Commissioner’s office. For two weeks now, we have not heard anything from them.” She told Channels Television’s Sports This Morning.

“We have not met with the Governor or heard anything from him. The Commissioner of Sports has been talking and having meetings with him. Thus far, we have not heard any good news from the meeting. Everyone is struggling to survive. We are just doing individual training so that we can keep fit.” She said.

Before the league kick-off was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NWFL board has insisted that clubs should pay up player’s salaries as well as conducting medical checkups on players before the league kicks off. Chinenye Okafor confirmed that the league is aware of their plight and the players knew that they will not be able to play league games if their salaries are not paid.

“The NWFL Chairperson is aware of the situation because she said that clubs should settle player’s salaries before the league can start. This made us aware of the fact that the NWFL board is aware of it and without paying us, we can’t play the league.”

“I have been here since January without payment of my salaries. With the crisis on ground, we can’t just be going home with nothing because we can’t say what we can meet on the way. We have to get enough money for us to go home. All of us just have to wait until we get our payment.” She concluded.

Pelican Stars gained promotion to the NWFL Premiership in 2019 after finishing second behind Royal Queens in the Pro-League Promotion Playoffs. The club returned to the top flight after being relegated to the second tier in the course of the 2017 season.
The current salary impasse might hinder the team from achieving optimal performance when the league eventually kick-off.

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