We commend the Super Falcons for qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 which will be hosted by France. The Super Falcons achieved the feat by winning this year’s African Women’s Nations Cup (AWCON) which ended in Ghana on November 30. The Super Falcons won the continental trophy for the ninth time in the eleven editions of the competition held so far.
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South Africa and Cameroon had also qualified for the Mundial. At the draws conducted by FIFA legends, Alex Scott and Louis Saha at the La Seine Musicale in Paris on October 8, the 24 qualified countries where drawn in six groups of four teams each. Nigeria was drawn in Group A along with host France, Norway and South Korea. Group B has Germany, China People’s Republic, Spain and South Africa. Group C has Australia, Italy, Brazil and Jamaica. Group D has England, Scotland, Argentina and Japan. Group E features Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand and Netherlands while Group F has USA, Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
The winner of next year’s competition would emerge after 88 matches in all, which would feature 72 matches at the group stage, eight matches at the Round of 16, four at the Quarter Final stage, two at Semi Finals and two more to determine the third place finisher and winner and runner up of the World Cup. The global sports fiesta would last from June 7 to July 7 next year.
We, once again, salute the Super Falcons for winning the African competition for the 9th time. Their dominance of the African stage is so glaring that the future of the women’s game in the country is not in doubt. The Super Falcons should up their game and strive to dominate the game at the global stage.
Beyond reaching the Quarter Finals, the Super Falcons’ appearances at the World Cup had not been so impressive. As the global competition enters its 8th edition, many sports commentators believe that the Super Falcons can win the World Cup.
It is perhaps in recognition of this possibility that the football authorities hired a foreign coach, Thomas Dennerby, the current handler of the national women’s team and former coach of Sweden. Under his tutelage, the Swedish national women’s team finished third place at the 2011 World Cup.
We hope that his experience would rub off on the Super Falcons. Good enough, he has laid out his plans for the competition. With his plans, there is no doubt that the Super Falcons would have an improved outing at the World Cup. His planned training camp early next year for the players is commendable.
Let the nation’s football authorities fund the team adequately. For the Super Falcons to have improved outing at the World Cup, the preparations must start now. We believe that early preparation is crucial to success at the tournament. The coaching crew should also train the team in areas they have weaknesses. For the team to go far at the competition, the issue of delayed payment of allowances, which trailed their recent title defence in Ghana, must never be done away with as they prepare for next year’s World Cup in France.
The NFF and the Ministry of Youths and Sports must work out the allowances and other incentives for the players and their handlers before they arrive in France. The government must keep to its promises to the team. For winning the African Women’s Nations Cup, the team and their handlers should be honoured by the Federal Government. It should go beyond the usual handshake. To encourage them to do more and win the World Cup, they must be adequately rewarded. Let the team be treated like their male counterpart.
The Super Falcons must be supported by all lovers of the game in the country. We charge the team to go beyond the Quarter Final stage. We wish them the best at the competition.