The Nigeria Football Federation has again handed out big kudos to the Federal Government and its sponsors, this time for the progress of the Super Falcons to the final of the 10th Women Africa Cup of Nations ongoing in Cameroon.
Champions Nigeria grasped big wins over Mali and Kenya and drew with Ghana to reach the semi finals of the competition, and on Tuesday pipped South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 1-0 to reach the final for the eighth time in the 10 editions since the inaugural that Nigeria hosted in 1998.
On Wednesday, NFF President Amaju Pinnick put the progress of the girls towards their eighth continental title down to the support that the Federation continues to receive from the Federal Government and its sponsors, and particularly the visit of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the team’s training session in Abuja earlier in the month.
“We remain very much appreciative of the support of the Federal Government, right from His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) who is a true father for the girls. There is not much we can achieve without the support of the Government.
“The Vice President paid the Super Falcons a visit right at their training session in Abuja on Tuesday, 8th November, just a few days before they left for Cameroon. His words of assurance and encouragement have pushed the girls thus far and will motivate them to give their all in the final against Cameroon on Saturday,” said the NFF boss, who also recalled that the same day, Vice President Osinbajo met with the Super Eagles at their training session also in Abuja, and his words of motivation propelled the Eagles to a 3-1 win over Algeria in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
Pinnick, who will attend Saturday’s potentially explosive final at the Ahmadu Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, also showered encomiums on Sports and Youth Development Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung.
“The Honourable Minister is our pillar. There is nothing we can do without his backing. He has always been there to lend a listening ear to our supplications day and night. He is also there at all times to lead the support for our teams during crucial games.
“I also want to specially thank SuperSport and our other partners for being there for us.”
The Lionesses have prosecuted their first four matches at the tournament without conceding a goal, but they have a mountain to surmount against a rampaging Falcons that have scored 12 goals in their own four games, conceding only once – a penalty kick scored by Ghana’s Elizabeth Addo.
Nigeria’s Falcons have participated at every FIFA Women’s World Cup since the inaugural event in 1991, reaching the quarter –finals in 1999. On their part, the Lionesses played at their first FIFA World Cup only last year, reaching the Round of 16 in Canada.
The Super Falcons have won the African title seven times out of the previous nine editions, and have never lost a final match. At the last edition, they defeated the Lionesses 2-0 in the final in Windhoek, Namibia.
However, the Cameroonian girls appear much improved since the beginning of the tournament, entertaining the impressive crowd that turned out for each of their four games. For the semi final tie against Ghana, a full house was at hand at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium – a development that has delighted the Confederation of African Football and is a big encouragement to African women football.