Pinnick apologises to Nigeria’s neglected women’s team with promise of new dawn

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The president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has apologised for neglecting Nigeria’s women national team. The Super Falcons haven’t played a single match since winning the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON).

“I apologise to them publicly – we have been trying to intensify our efforts in rebuilding the Super Eagles [Nigeria’s men’s team] which we have done,” Pinnick said in an interview with BBC Sport.

“Now we have secured the services of a foreign coach from America [Randy Waldrum] who is going to resume next week.

“We have lined up a couple of matches for them and I have apologised to them because the truth is we wanted to concentrate on the [World Cup] qualifiers [for the men] which was quite intense.”

Last year Nigeria and Cameroon disputed the 2016 AWCON final in Yaounde and the Super Falcons prevailed in the lion’s den courtesy of a Desire Oparanozie goal four minutes from time to lift Nigeria’s tenth AWCON trophy.

A few days later, the Super Falcons were protesting to demand payment of their wages. Since that final in December 2016, Nigeria haven’t played a single match or held an official training session.

In August Oparanozie had voiced her discontent on social media. On Instragram she posted a critical message at the address of the NFF: “Over 8 months indeed. Since after Nations cup no form of regrouping whatsoever.”

“Which way Nigeria Football Federation? Other African nations have caught up with us, we’re still a shadow of ourselves on the world stage….yet it doesn’t bother the people leading us.

“Let’s build for the younger generation. We need international/quality friendlies #WeSpeakInOneVoice #ThisIsNoLongerAcceptable #EqualTreatment #NFF #CAF #FIFA.”

In 2019 Nigeria will have to compete in the AWCON qualifiers with three World Cup tickets at stake in Africa’s continental championship.

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