Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi and other soccer fans in the state have congratulated the Super Falcons for its 2018 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) triumph which ensured an overall 9th title win.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Falcons defeated the Bayana Bayana of South Africa 4-3 on penalties after regulations time scores of 0-0 in the final played in Accra, Ghana on Saturday.
Umahi, who spoke to NAN through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, on Monday said that the feat signified the “never-say-die’’ spirit of Nigerians which was exhibited while pursuing national causes.
“The victory has reminded Nigerians that with unity of purpose, commitment and patriotism, they can achieve feats that would make them the envy of the continent and the entire world.
READ ALSO Southampton sack Hughes as manager
“I commend the players, technical crew and relevant soccer authorities for the feat and enjoin the team to redouble its efforts for the country’s equitable representation at the Women World Cup in France in 2019,” he said.
The governor noted that the feat was a victory for the women folk and a reminder that they could achieve whatever purpose they set for themselves with courage, passion and dedication.
“My administration has been at the forefront of women empowerment and equitable representation in all facets of national life and I urge them to take a cue from the Falcons’ victory.
“We remain committed to float the state’s football clubs from January 2019 of which the female teams will be given due attention,” he said.
Sabina Mbaonu, former Coach of the defunct Starlight Queens of Enugu, also congratulated the team and urged football fans to appreciate them.
“Most critics expressed dissatisfaction over the overall performance of the team in the competition when it lost its first match and surmounted the semi-final and final challenges through penalty kick wins.
“This is not the time to negatively criticise the team but a period to encourage it because the gap between it and other teams in the continent has reduced considerably,” she said.
Bartholomew Olua, a Soccer Historian, supported the assertion and noted that teams have won competitions in the past without playing “flowery’’ football.
“The Argentine team with the legendary Diego Maradona reached the final of the “Italia 90’’ World Cup after winning its quarter and semi-final matches through penalty kicks.
“We should also avoid the 1993 debacle when soccer fans were pitted against the nation’s sports authorities for expressing dissatisfaction over the Super Eagles performance in spite of qualifying for our first World Cup,” he said.
Judith Enwere, a star player of Dynamite Ladies FC of Abakaliki, condemned the critics who had labelled the Falcons as “old’’, noting that their criticism was grossly unfair.
“A team which lost its first match in a competition and positively imbibed the inherent condemnations and lessons to win the competition deserves our praises.
“The Nigeria Football Federation should instead ensure adequate preparation for the team to the break its jinx of under performance in the female World Cup tournaments,” he said.