The President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, on Thursday applauded the gutsy play “and general display of the Nigeria spirit” of the Super Falcons in Abidjan on Wednesday evening, which earned Nigeria a spot at this year’s Women Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Cup holders and nine-time winners Nigeria took a 2-0 win from the first leg and then survived a blistering first half in which goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saved a penalty kick, to rock the Ivorians with a goal one minute before the end and achieve a 3-0 aggregate win to qualify for Morocco 2022.
Pinnick said: “We are extremely proud of the resilience, grit and steel of the Super Falcons in achieving this qualification. Four of the starters in the first leg were winning their first caps for Nigeria, yet put up amazing performances to earn a 2-0 victory. In Abidjan, the players were all awesome and refused to cave in despite the onslaughts from the home team.
“They did a very good job and deserve commendation for this memorable outing.”
Esther Okoronkwo, winning only her second cap, broke the back of the Lady Elephants with an 89th minute goal to confirm Nigeria’s 3-0 aggregate win and passage to the 12-team 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco in July this year.
After the victory, the Super Falcons praised the commitment and support of Pinnick to the team’s success, saying the NFF gave the team all it needed to succeed by providing the conducive environment and necessary implements for adequate preparation for the two-legged final qualifying round.