The wife of President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic, Distinguished Senator (Mrs) Oluremi Tinubu CON has charged the Senior Women National Team of Nigeria to pull efforts, talents and skills together and dominate at the 9th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals starting in Australia and New Zealand in 18 days’ time.
Distinguished Senator Tinubu threw this challenge to the nine-time African champions at a Send-Forth dinner held for them at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Saturday, less than 24 hours before the team was due to depart Nigeria’s shores for a 15-day training camp in Down Under before the global spectacle.
“You are the shining star and pride of Africa. I charge you to go all out and do your very best to dominate other teams, and become the pride of the entire world,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by Dr. Betta Edu, APC National Women Leader.
“I am proud to note that our Super Falcons have remained in that mix of the very best globally in the world of football. They have featured in every single edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals since the competition started in 1991, and our country is also one of only seven countries worldwide to have done so.
“While our Falcons made it to the quarter-finals at the 1999 finals in the United States of America, and reached the second round at the last championship in France, our expectations as a nation and as a people is for a much better performance at what is certainly the biggest and best championship yet, in Australia and New Zealand starting from 20 July.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar advised the girls to work as a team to achieve greater results, while President of NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau noted that the Super Falcons have won their last three matches and possess the winning mentality to be a strong force for any opposition in Australia and New Zealand.
“Our belief in the Super Falcons and what they are capable of achieving informed the NFF’s decision to spare no cost in adequately preparing the team for the finals, with tournaments and matches in Japan, Mexico and Turkey, and a 15-camping already planned in Australia before the tournament begins.”
The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu expressed confidence that the Falcons will go all the way to the Championship Final and pledged to attend the quarter-final and semi-final matches if the girls get to the latter stages.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi urged the Falcons to observe the integrity of the sport and prioritize good character on and off the field of play at the finals.
Team captain Onome Ebi, on behalf of the players, said: “We are not just going to be part of the competition, but going to break records and surpass our previous outing which was Round of 16.”
The occasion was also attended by a representative of the Accountant General of the Federation, NFF partners and sponsors, members of the diplomatic corps, business moguls, NFF management and staff, members of the Supporters Club and other football stakeholders.
On Friday, the Australian High Commission in Nigeria had treated the Super Falcons to a celebration dinner hosted by the Ag. High Commissioner, Ms Leanne Johnston in Abuja, and which was also attended by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Management team and football stakeholders and enthusiasts.
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