Top Players Quit Argentina’s Women’s Football Citing Unbearable Injustices

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In an unmistakable protest against perpetuating injustices, goalkeeper Laurina Oliveros, defender Julieta Cruz, and midfielder Lorena Benítez have made headlines by deciding to part ways with Argentina’s national women’s football team. All three players, who are well-known regular starters, decided to take the momentous step on Monday.

The seeds of their discontent were planted by months of neglect symbolized by unfair pay practices, lackluster conditions at the training camp, and the constantly looming shadows of indignity. However, it wasn’t just about overdue monetary compensation – their grievances extended far beyond that.

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Cruz tried to articulate their collective disillusionment and exasperation via an Instagram post, stating, “We reached a point in which we are tired of the injustices, of not being valued, not being heard and, even worse, being humiliated”. She demanded a holistic makeover for Argentina’s women’s football scene, highlighting the urgent need for improvement not just in financial aspects, but also in the quality of training and the provision of essential meals.

Both Cruz and Benítez shared their dissatisfaction over being offered a ham and cheese sandwich and a banana during squad training sessions, asserting that such fare is far from sufficient for athletes expected to deliver high-performance results. Their disappointment deepened when the Argentine Football Association informed them about a lack of payment for upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica, citing the matches were to be held on home ground in Buenos Aires.

Further adding fuel to the flames, Benítez revealed that their family members were expected to pay 5,000 pesos ($5) for match tickets. “And there are millions of things we have gone through,” the midfielder added, the pain evident in her words.

Oliveros expressed her sadness in similarly poignant fashion on Instagram, her message brimming with disillusionment over dreams that had been slowly slipping through her fingers, “With a broken heart and thousands of dreams disappearing little by little. May the next generations enjoy and be happy running after the football, as we were sometime ago.”

Despite the storm stirred by the sudden exits and the serious allegations voiced by the team members, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has so far remained silent on the matter.

Adding to the echoing voices of protest and support was Estefanía Banini, widely hailed as the country’s finest female player. Banini, who herself had chosen to exit from the national team last year, voiced her solidarity with the three athletes publicly. Acknowledging their courage to bring these simmering issues to the fore, the Atletico Madrid midfielder posted on her social media channels amidst the furor, “A matter of time. Thanks for being willing to speak about it.”