The Super Falcons have been challenged to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals taking place in Australia and New Zealand by the First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu.
Before the squad’s departure today for the Mundial, which begins on July 20 and ends on August 20, she delivered the charge on Saturday in Abuja while hosting the team to dinner.
Sen. Tinubu stated that Nigeria’s participation in the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup must be for the honourable goal of bringing the coveted cup home. She was represented by Dr. Betta Edu, the APC National Women Leader.
She urged the Super Falcons to put forth their best effort in order to live up to the aspirations of the nation, pointing out that football was a big national unifier.
“It is important that you remain committed by playing together as a team; no one should think that she’s better player than the other.
“It is only when you play as a team that you can record success. It is my expectation that this time, you will surpass your previous efforts.
“I am sure that 99.9 per cent of Nigerians will stay glued to their television sets to watch you. Please try your best to bring the cup home.”
While expressing her faith in the ability and pedigree of the team to excel at the mundial, the first lady promised to receive the team herself when they bring the cup home.
Earlier, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Gashua, had thanked the Federal Government for supporting the team.
“Football remains the biggest unifier across the world; it has helped to shore up our national image while helping to reduce criminal tendencies among the youth.
“I want to encourage the coaches to be more committed because you will be accountable for the outing.”
Among dignitaries that attended the dinner were Philip Shuaibu, the Deputy Governor of Edo, top sports administrators and members of the diplomatic corps.
It will be noted that the Super Falcons is one out of only seven national teams that have featured in each of the competition since it debuted in 1991.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have been reassured once more by the Super Falcons’ captain Onome Ebi that their team is prepared to represent the country with pride at the World Cup.
She made this known during the dinner hosted by the Australian High Commission in Abuja before they left for Australia today according to Daily Trust
Speaking on behalf of the team, Ebi stated that they are prepared to represent the nation with pride in Australia and New Zealand.
“I want to tell Nigerians that we are going to Australia, not just to participate, but to surpass our record in the last outing. I believe we will make Nigerians proud”, she said.
It will be noted that Nigeria’s best record at the World Cup is reaching the quarter-finals in the 1999 edition in United States.
The team is expected to have a 15-day training period in Australia before settling down for the competition proper.
Ebi will be one of the oldest players at the tournament, at 40, alongside Brazil’s Marta and Canada’s Christine Sinclair. The three women will be featuring in their sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament.
Nigeria’s first match of the finals is against Canada, at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium, on Friday, 21 July, before clashes with co-host nation Australia and the Republic of Ireland on Thursday, 27 July and Monday, 31 July respectively, at the Lang Park in Brisbane.
Australia and New Zealand 2023 will be the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in history, as it welcomes 32 teams – same number as featured in the men’s finals in Qatar last year.