First Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has declared Tuesday’s battling win over Cameroon and the accompanying qualification for the FIFA World Cup and the Women’s AFCON Final as justification by the Super Falcons of the NFF’s confidence in the team.
“I feel elated, and I am sure that my colleagues on the Board of the NFF will feel the same way anywhere they are presently. The NFF has always had confidence in the Super Falcons and we are happy we got this World Cup ticket.
“It was not easy and it could not have been easy, as that was a semi final match (against Cameroon). The Cameroonians were the hosts in 2016 when we beat them in front of a capacity crowd to retain the trophy, so they came with every ounce of strength and tactical knowledge to try and gain revenge. But champions would always be champions and we overpowered them.”
Akinwunmi gingered up the Falcons with inspiring words at lunch on Tuesday before the team departed for the Accra Sports Stadium, and the players admitted after the game that his charge to them to go and conquer, and expression of faith in them to retain the trophy for Nigeria, kept ringing in their ears even when the going got tough.
On the preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France, the Chairman of Lagos State Football Association and Member, CAF Youth Competitions Committee told thenff.com that there would be no half measures.
“The FIFA World Cup is the FIFA World Cup, and we must put in place a proper and comprehensive preparatory programme for the Super Falcons. We must utilize all the available FIFA windows for the team to play friendlies.
“After the final match on Saturday, the NFF will ask Coach Thomas Dennerby to submit his program and we will take it from there.”
Nigeria is one of only seven countries in the world that has qualified for all the editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since the championship was launched in China in 1991. The others are the United States of America, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Norway and Japan.
The Super Falcons will be joined in France by South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, who they meet in the Women AFCON Final in Accra on Saturday, as well as the winner of the losers’ final between Cameroon and Mali.
…Dennerby says focus has shifted to AWCON title
After accomplishing their first target of a ticket to the FIFA World Cup, Nigeria’s next target is to retain the Women AFCON title by beating South Africa in Accra on Saturday, says Head Coach Thomas Dennerby.
The Swede tactician was on his feet for most of the semi final against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in Accra on Tuesday, which exhausted the statutory regulation and extra time and then went into penalty shoot –out before the Cup holders inched past their bitter rivals into the Final and a place in France.
He said at the post-match conference: “When we arrived in Ghana, we made it clear our first target was the ticket to the World Cup, and after that, retaining the trophy. Now, we have achieved our first target. On Saturday, we have the opportunity of achieving our second target. We will go in there and give it our best shot and take the trophy back to Nigeria.
“Sincerely, I was not happy with our performance in the first 20 minutes of the match. We lost the ball too many times; we were too anxious and the defenders and midfielders couldn’t contribute to the attack. However, the positive from this tournament is our defence is very good. We have a compact team and that is why we made it today. Going to the World Cup, we need to improve the way we attack. We need to create chances and make the best use of the opportunities that come our way.”
The Super Falcons will take on the Banyana Banyana of South Africa in the Final of the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday, starting from 5pm.