Used and Abused: Untold Story of Falconets' World Cup Marketing campaign

Early Wednesday morning, social media was flooded with pictures of the Falconets sleeping on naked flooring and chairs at Istanbul’s airport in Turkey.

The gamers, who boarded Turkish Airways, had been in transit in Istanbul, on their method to the U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica, after crashing out of the match, after beating the Netherlands 2–0 on Sunday.

After a flight delay in Colombia, the airline that might fly them to Abuja had left.

They’re made to endure a irritating 23 hour keep at Istanbul airport.

“We thought our flight was for Tuesday, not figuring out it was Wednesday,” a group official advised The PUNCH.

“The primary ticket we had in Costa Rica was in August 23, however once we arrived in Colombia there was a 4 hour delay, inflicting them to alter the ticket. And we needed to endure 23 hours of hell on the airport.”

Istanbul dilemma

The Falconets ordeal angered a number of Nigerians on-line, with some respondents addressed the federal government and the Nigerian Soccer Federation concerning the plight of the Falconets.

African soccer journalist Osau Obayiuwana tweeted: “Why would a #Nigerian nationwide soccer group, the #Falconets, nearly sleep like bums at #Istanbul Airport in #Turkey am, to catch a connecting flight again to #Nigeria after being eradicated from the #U20WWC in #CostaRica, @thenff? WHY???”

Ernest Brown mentioned: “No accountable authorities of any nation can permit this to occur to its residents, discuss extra about its representatives. I’m ashamed to be Nigerian.”

Orji Isaac added: “Too dangerous for this authorities, with dangerous therapy they all the time give it heroes. They’re solely involved with politics.”

“Why would not the NFF have a schedule? Why do we’ve to disgrace the nation on a regular basis? Cannot these women be sorted in a lodge? What sort of nation is that this?” requested Remilekun Oluwaremedies.

Toyin Ibitoye, media assistant to the Minister of Youth and Sports activities, Sunday Dare, mentioned the minister has contacted the gamers.

“The minister contacted them, spoke to them and made positive their keep was as snug as potential earlier than flying to the nation,” he advised The PUNCH.

A participant advised our correspondent that they could not bathe or change their outfit after being advised by airport officers to pay $) earlier than having a shower.

“That is the worst expertise I’ve ever had in my life,” declared the younger footballer.

“The airline officers advised us they’d take us to a sleeping space, solely to take us to a ready space, the place we needed to spend the evening.

“My legs damage; I needed to take off my sneakers for slippers and began ro and stroll to the airport. Those that have cash paid $ to take a shower, those that did not couldn’t take a shower and alter garments,” she added. .

However the participant, talking on situation of anonymity, added that the airline offered meals for the contingent.

“We got meal coupons each 5 hours, however we had been solely allowed to eat hen and chips.”

NFF explains

NFF Secretary Basic Dr. Mohammed Sanusi mentioned in an announcement that the federation had tried to accommodate the group in a lodge within the Turkish capital after studying the group could be within the metropolis for an additional 23 hour stayed.

However a brand new coverage of denying Nigerians visas upon arrival in Turkey has scuttled their efforts, Sanusi added.

“The NFF has not booked any tickets for the group from Costa Rica; Fifa did it. FIFA additionally didn’t take note of the issues that brought about the group to be delayed by greater than three hours in Bogota and one other hour in Panama. By the point the group arrived in Istanbul, the flight to Abuja had already left,” mentioned Sanusi.

“Our officers begged for a compassion transit visa to take the gamers and officers to a lodge within the metropolis, however this was not potential as they had been advised that Nigeria was off the listing of nations whose residents have been issued a visa on arrival in Turkey.

“The airline then took the group to a sleeping space on the airport and gave them tickets to eat each 5 hours. This case has nothing to do with NFF, who had made preparations to obtain the group in Abuja earlier than the issues in arranging the journey.”

The Falconets lastly boarded at 6:00 PM the six-hour flight to Abuja (4pm Nigerian time) on Wednesday and had not but landed as on the time of submitting this report.

Obayiuwana, nevertheless, questioned why the NFF knew nothing about Yotel, an airport lodge the place they may have housed the contingent.

He tweeted with a photograph of Yotel: “Did not @thenff know there’s such a facility at #Istanbul airport the place the #Falconets might have rested, as a substitute of on the airport to sleep ground and chairs for 20 hours? Come on…”

AJ Afolabi additionally added on Twitter: “There are lounges accessible with a lot better circumstances similar to motels at that airport This does not look good in any respect for NFF We do not deal with our personal individuals a lot once we do enterprise internationally Such a disgrace There’s not less than no excuse to not plan and to funds for unexpected circumstances, that claims rather a lot about us.”

Yotel is positioned in Istanbul Airport, one with airside entry and one other with landside entry, it’s positioned in the primary terminal constructing, on the departure ground (2nd ground) within the transit space (tax free).

Travellers solely want an official boarding move, not a visa, to entry the ability.

Incomplete kits

The Falconet’s predicament in Turkey, revealed a number of different points that the younger feminine gamers encountered pre-tournament and on the precise match

Earlier than the match, it was discovered that the gamers would have purchased their sneakers themselves, after the package provider Nike had didn’t ship them.

A group supply mentioned: “The gamers purchased their sneakers myself, me mine too. Everybody purchased theirs. How a lot is Nike sneakers you may’t purchase for the gamers?

“Truly they requested the gamers to ship their mates; everybody despatched theirs only for us to go to Abuja and was advised Nike did not include the sneakers. We’ve different kits however the sneakers weren’t included.

“So all of us went to the market to purchase the sneakers. It’s not hidden; individuals took photos of the gamers shopping for the sneakers. I needed to ward off the person they purchased them from. I advised him that if he needed to promote to the gamers, he had to decide on a secluded place. I purchased two pairs.”


If the group acquired their compensation after leaving the match, our supply mentioned that the gamers had been awarded $ 500 for his or her efforts in Costa Rica, including that in addition they obtain an additional N40, transport house from Abuja.

She acknowledged: “They had been promised bonuses in the event that they reached the quarterfinals. They counted on that. They acquired common camp allowances, however that was for just a few days.

“What are they taking house ultimately? $500. I do not know if they’ll give them any more cash. I heard in addition they have N40, to move themselves to their bases by street from Abuja, I simply hope it would not occur.

“These gamers are essentially the most superb footballers I’ve come throughout; they do not discuss, they’re so humble, clever and centered on their soccer. However why are they enjoying and never getting paid?”

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