• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Super Falcons return to Nigeria after booking 2024 Olympics ticket

Falcons-2

Triumphant Super Falcons arrived back in Nigeria on Wednesday night after their 2024 Olympics second leg qualifiers against South Africa’s Banyana Banyana on Tuesday night.

After securing a crucial 1-0 win over Banyana Banyana in Abuja last Friday, the nine-time African champions held firm to earn a scoreless draw in Johannesburg, securing Nigeria’s qualification for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament for the first time in 16 years.

While many of the players and Super Falcons Coach Randy Waldrum headed directly to their respective destinations from Johannesburg, eight players and other team officials boarded a South African Airways flight back to Lagos on Wednesday night.

NFF’s Director of Competitions, Ruth David narrated how South African Football Association authorities abandoned the Super Falcons immediately after Tunisian referee Dorsaf Ganouati’s final whistle confirmed that Nigeria, and not South Africa, would be joining Brazil, Spain and Japan in Group C of the 2024 Olympics Tournament.

“SAFA officials made it clear that we were thenceforth on our own. They said the bus would not move us anywhere again, and that their responsibilities ended with the final whistle. They only took us back to the hotel, and no longer detailed security personnel for the delegation.

She however praised the efforts of the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, highlighting the assistance provided by Mr. Alexander Tope Ajayi.

She mentioned his efforts in ensuring the team’s comfort, organizing team dinners, arranging transportation for Nigerians in Pretoria to support the team, and overseeing their departure from the airport.

“We must commend the Charge d’Affaires in the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, Mr Alexander Tope Ajayi for all his efforts. He made the team feel comfortable and at home right from our arrival, organized dinner for the team and mobilized and provided transport for Nigerians based in Pretoria to come to the stadium and support the team. He also organized transport and saw the team off to the airport on departure.”

Captain Rasheedat Ajibade’s decisive penalty in the two-legged tie secured Nigeria’s spot in France for the Olympic tournament, while Banyana Banyana will miss out on a third Olympics after their previous appearance in London 12 years ago.