The Super Falcons’ success in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, according to Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) president Ibrahim Gusau, has given the federation new economic options.
He announced this on Tuesday at a media parley marking the NFF board’s first anniversary, which was held in Abuja.
He claims that as a result of the Super Falcons’ heroics at the world championship, corporate organisations who had been reluctant to sponsor women’s football are now prepared to work with the federation.
The team, despite their valiant effort, was eliminated from the competition after losing 4-2 on penalties to England in the round of 16 despite holding them to a scoreless stalemate after 120 minutes.
“We thank God for the performances of the Super Falcons at the last World Cup. It has opened a lot of windows to getting some responses from a lot of corporate organization. Now they see there are potentials in women football and they have started listening to us to bring in more money to develop women football. That singular performance from the Super Falcons is helping us a lot. Very soon, we will see a lot of changes in women football,” he declared.
Speaking further, Gusau said the federation under his leadership is cutting costs in view of the prevailing economic situation of the nation.
“I was in Australia on the invitation of FIFA and I didn’t spend a dime from NFF. We are trying to cut cost for us to face the reality on ground. We try to manage the little resources we have to prepare our national teams for their various engagements. We are the busiest federation in Africa and I try as much as possible to ensure we achieve the core mandate of what we are expected to do,” he said.
Gusau further expressed his determination to see the Super Eagles win the AFCON trophy next year and qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He’s also confident that the Super Falcons will qualify for the 2024 Olympics. Additionally, he mentioned plans to utilize the FIFA Forward 3.0 project to construct a suitable hostel for the national teams instead of spending a lot on hotel expenses.
“We also want to see the Super Falcons reclaim their African title and return to the Women Olympic Football Tournament. Our expectations include making good progress in our plan for hostel accommodation and some playing pitches for the National Teams, through the FIFA Forward 3.0 program, and also see that the U17 and U20 Women National Teams achieve their best-ever outings at their different World Cups next year.
“We are working already with the new NPFL Board to grow the NPFL into the product that all administrators and stakeholders desire, and also with the boards of the other Leagues to improve the state of our domestic football. To achieve all these, we need money, so we are also looking to work even harder to grow our revenue base through aggressive marketing drive.”
The NFF boss said his team will also not allow any FIFA window for friendly matches to go unutilized. “As you can see, we have arranged two matches for the Super Eagles in this month’s window, against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique. Mozambique is in southern Africa where three of our opponents in the World Cup qualifiers, namely Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa also are. Playing Mozambique is a good opportunity for the team to have a sneak preview of what to expect against these three teams.”