Former Nigeria international, Peterside Idah, who has declared interest in becoming the next President of the Nigeria Football Federation has debunked news making the rounds that he instigated the 2004 Super Falcons protest in South Africa after winning that year’s African Women’s championship.
Speaking with Vanguard over the matter, the former Super Eagles safe hands denied ever having anything to do with the alleged protest, stating rather that he bailed the Nigerian contingent out of the messy financial situation it was in by paying a whopping $10,000 US Dollars being cost of their hotel bill.
He started, “The management of the hotel had threatened to throw the team and officials out. I got a call from Precious Dede that they could not get accommodation for like two days. They were supposed to lodge in Oakland Park, one of the holiday inns.
“They came back from training and were not allowed to go and change. So they called me. When I got to the hotel, these players were all outside. They told me they had just returned from training, they had not taken their bath and had not eaten. So I went to the management of the hotel and asked what the problem was that they kept our national team outside.
“The management told me that the team had been there for three nights and had not paid one cent. Though there was an initial deposit which was not enough. I asked them ‘how much was the money? They told me about 8 or 9 thousand dollars. I went and brought 10,000 US dollars which I paid. Till date that money has not been refunded to me.”
He continued, “because they were many, I told them to reduce the number of rooms by increasing the number of occupants per room. Instead of two, they should make it three per room. This arrangement also affected the officials. I also asked them to reduce the number of times they ate. They ate breakfast and in the evening I arranged with a lady who was cooking Nigerian food for them. Ann Chiejine and Perpetua Nkwocha can attest to what I am saying.
“When they won the Cup, they brought the trophy to my Church for a Thanksgiving service, and in appreciation of what I did for them. It was later that Late Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, then NFF Secretary General of the NFF came with money and paid their allowances.
“They did not refund one penny to me. I wasn’t involved with the NFF in anyway. I did it because of the love and passion I have for my country. Till today, those girls never forget me. Anytime they see me they remember that episode in South Africa.”
Peterside I dah also denied the rumour that he instigated the players to stage a protest during which he gave them the flag of Biafra.
He asked, “Was there any agitation for Biafra 19 years ago? I can’t remember if IPOB was there then. I think it was MOSOP. In the first place I am not Biafran, I am from Rivers State. What have I got to do with Biafra?
“No! Somebody is lying against me. From where could I have got the flag of Biafra 19 years ago? Me that just finished playing for Nigeria a few years back, to go and carry another country’s flag. Certainly, somebody wants to tarnish my image because I want to become NFF president. For God’s sake, I am a pastor. How can I be political. I think people are just being mischievous.”
He said the players couldn’t enter their room. “There was no protest. They were outside the hotel. And by the way, why would I instigate the girls? What could I have been protesting against? These are all lies.”