The Nigerian football team was stuck at Istanbul airport for 24 hours

  • Istanbul Airport

    Istanbul Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:


    General Director:
    Pictures of Samsunlu

    Number of passengers:
    37 176 509 (2021)

    16L/34R – 3,750 m (12,303 ft) |16R/34L – 3,750 m (12,303 ft) |17L/35R – 4,100 m (13,451 ft) |17R/35L – 4,100 m (13,451 ft) |18/36 – 3,060 m (10,039 feet)

Usually when it comes to star athletes or celebrities, housing, connections and flights as a rule, care is taken to avoid situations where being stranded at airports becomes a possibility. However, the possibility became a reality for Nigeria’s under-20 women’s national team, the Falconets, as they found themselves stranded The Turkish airport of Istanbul about 24 hours.

The surprise disembarkation came after the Falconets took off from Costa Rica at around 06:30am on Monday, but were unable to leave Istanbul airport on Wednesday after a series of en route complications. As the unpredictable holiday dragged on, the women allegedly had to borrow money to buy clean clothes and shoes to keep warm, and slept on airport chairs and floor.


What happened?


In accordance with Nigeria The Football Federation (NFF), which governs the Falconets, said the fall at Istanbul Airport was due to various factors and several parties should be blamed. FIFA was the first to blame, since the main reason that the Falconets ended up in Istanbul was the impossibility of providing transit visas for players and officials at the airport. Without the necessary visas, the team was forced to stay in Istanbul and were unable to catch their flight home to Nigeria.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the NFF explained:

“The NFF did not book the tickets of the team from Costa Rica; FIFA did. FIFA also failed to anticipate the disruptions that delayed the team for more than three hours in Bogota and another hour in Panama. By the time the team reached Istanbul, the flight to Abuja had already left.”

The NFF further explained that it has requested FIFA to intervene with the German Embassy to issue transit visas to the team prior to their departure from Nigeria to ensure a smooth journey through Germany. However, the NFF claims that FIFA never complied.

Unnamed airlines and Istanbul airport

The finger of blame did not stop at FIFA as the NFF also blamed the unnamed an airline and Istanbul airport for landing the Falconets. Delays in Bogota and Panama were also allegedly caused by an unnamed airline, with the airport not showing enough sympathy and offering only minimal assistance.

Dr. Mohamed Sanusi, Secretary General of the NFF, emphasized:

“Our officials requested for compassionate transit visas to take the players and officials to a hotel in the city but this was not possible as they were informed that Nigeria had been removed from the list of countries whose nationals were granted visa on arrival. Turkey. The airline then took the team to a sleeping area at the airport and issued them meal tickets every five hours. This situation has nothing to do with the NFF, which organized the reception of the team in Abuja before the complications with the organization of the trip.”

Put the blame on the NFF

While the NFF placed the blame on FIFA, an unnamed airline and Istanbul Airport, the public was quick to place the blame on the Nigerian outfit. Many suggested that much more should have been done to give the Falconets better flying facilities as the NFF undoubtedly had the budget. The argument was that if the Falconets were booked with possibly more reliable and expensive airlines, then delays was less likely to happen.

The public also criticized the NFF for not providing proper accommodation for the Falconets during their a stop or providing them with basic necessities. However, the NFF defended itself, explaining:

“The players were given three sets of green T-shirts, two sets of white T-shirts, several types of home clothes and training uniforms. The players decided to wash only the jersey (no other items) because when the first set of clothes was sent to the hotel laundry, it came back with several FIFA and NFF badges on the front and names on the back, machine cleaned.’

Bottom line

One of every passenger’s worst nightmares is being stuck in a foreign airport for a few hours, let alone a whole day. So, regardless of who is really to blame, it’s still very unfortunate that the Falconets were put through very humiliating and distressing circumstances and were unable to fly home immediately.

Source: The Heritage Times

https://simpleflying.com/nigerian-football-team-stranded-istanbul-airport/ The Nigerian football team was stuck at Istanbul airport for 24 hours

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