NFF President Amaju Pinnick has charged the Super Falcons and the U-23 Eagles of Nigeria to do the nation proud as both teams negotiate tough bends in the race to next year’s Olympics.
Pinnick was at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos early on Thursday to receive the Falcons as as they arrived on their way to Bata, where they clash with their Equatorial Guinean counterparts on Sunday.
“The whole country is proud of what you have done in the past, winning seven African Women Championship titles out of nine so far, and qualifying for the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
“Your superiority on the African continent has never been in doubt. What is left is for us to take that capability to the global stage. The entire nation has faith in you to overcome in Equatorial Guinea and eventually qualify for the Olympics,” he told the players.
The Falcons have a big battle on their hands, having only drawn the first leg at home 1-1 against the only other tough rival they have on the African continent.
“On Sunday, Nigerians expect you to deliver as you have always done. A place in the final round of the qualifying race to the Olympics is certainly within your grasp,” Pinnick told the players.
In his response, Coach Chris Danjuma assured that the Falcons will take Sunday’s match as a battle that must be won.
“The way it is, we have no choice but to fight and fight, because we must score goals. I want to assure Nigerians that my team is up to the task.”
Pinnick also sent a message to the U-23 players, who were led out of the country on Thursday afternoon by NFF 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi.
They play their Congo-Brazzaville counterparts in the final match of the qualifying race for the African U-23 Championship, where Africa’s representatives to next year’s Olympics will emerge.
“We are fully aware of the fact that we are fighting two battles in one day. But they say that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
“Samson Siasia has been in this kind of situation several times and he has come out victorious. We believe in him and the team that he is taking to Pointe Noire,” Pinnick said.
Siasia’s lads hold a thin 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Port Harcourt, and know they have to prepare to battle against not only the host team, but several other forces as well.