Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, has praised the nine-time African champions, Super Falcons, for a valiant performance despite several odds and obstacles in their Women AFCON semi-final match against host nation Morocco in Rabat on Monday night.
The Super Falcons lost 5-4 on penalties to Morocco on Monday after the match ended one-all after regular time.
Of course, we would have been happy to be in the Final and chase a 10th title. But I am happy with the performance of the team and the way and manner they approached the game despite all sorts of setbacks and intimidation.
To play 50 minutes of a game with only nine players is not an easy task. The Super Falcons gave their all and were truly fabulous. They had the ‘Nigeria spirit’ in them and showed a sense of patriotism, were dogged and refused to give up. Penalties are forever a lottery, so it could have gone either way. I commend the team for the outing.”Advertisement
The dismissal of midfielder Halimat Ayinde in the 49th minute reduced Nigeria to 10 players, before Mauritius referee Maria Rivet showed forward Rasheedat Ajibade a red card in the 70th minute, reducing Nigeria’s playing strength by two for the remaining 50 minutes (20 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time).
Our girls did a massive job on a night they were not only depleted but challenged by laser lights trained on their eyes by the crowd. I am enamoured by their resilience and tenacity. The next step now is for the Federation to do everything possible to prepare the team adequately for the FIFA World Cup finals coming up next year.”
Pinnick added that he is pleased with the current pipeline, with the U20 and U17 girls having qualified for their respective FIFA World Cup tournaments and boasting intriguing prospects who can easily fit into the senior team.
The supply line looks strong enough to continue to present us with good and ambitious players for the coming years. We will have a delightful combination of experienced and youthful players for the World Cup finals.”Advertisement
The NFF has already secured four friendly matches for the Super Falcons in the Fall, with the team scheduled to play the United States Women’s National Team in Kansas City and Washington D. C. in September, as well as fly to Japan to face that country’s women’s squad in Kobe in October. Both opponents have a unique style and approach.
Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, and Zambia have automatically qualified for the 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be held in five Australian cities and four New Zealand cities from July 20th to August 20th, 2023. Cameroon and Senegal will compete for spots in a 10-team Playoff Tournament to be held in New Zealand early next year.