President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Mr.
Amaju Melvin Pinnick has showered encomiums on nine-time African
champions, Super Falcons for a valiant display despite several odds and
obstacles in their Women AFCON semi-final encounter against host nation
Morocco in Rabat on Monday night.

“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

“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.”

The expulsion of midfielder Halimat Ayinde in the 49th minute reduced
Nigeria to 10 players, before referee Maria Rivet from Mauritius handed
forward Rasheedat Ajibade a red card in the 70th minute, which cut
Nigeria’s playing strength by two for the remaining 50 minutes (20
minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time) of the thrilling

Uchenna Kanu had a touch on Nigeria’s goal in the 62nd minute though
it was recorded as an own goal by Yasmin Mrabet, and Nigeria could have
put the match in the bag when substitute Gift Monday rocked the crossbar
with a well-taken shot from outside the box 11 minutes into 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 delighted with the strong pipeline at the
moment, with the U20 girls and U17 girls having also qualified for their
respective FIFA World Cup tournaments and boasting interesting 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.”

Already, the NFF has secured a total of four friendly matches for the
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,
and also to fly to Japan to take on that country’s women’s squad in
Kobe in October. Both opponents offer diversity in style and approach.

Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa and Zambia have qualified automatically
for the 32-team FIFA Women’s World Cup fiesta to be staged in five
Australian cities and four New Zealand cities 20th July – 20th August

  1. Cameroon and Senegal will battle for slots at a 10-team Play-off
    Tournament in New Zealand early next year.

The Super Falcons have arrived in Casablanca on Tuesday for Friday’s
third place match against Zambia at the Complexe Mohamed V.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *