Nigeria’s triumphant delegation to South Africa for Tuesday’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament final qualifying game flew back to the country on Wednesday night, with words of praise for Nigeria’s Charge d’Affaires at the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria, Alexander Tope Ajayi.

With a 1-0 win over the Banyana Banyana in Abuja on Friday last week, The Pride of Africa dug their feet into the ground to grind a favourable scoreless draw that qualified Nigeria to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament for the first time in 16 years.

While most of the players and Coach Randy Waldrum left for their different bases direct from Johannesburg, eight players and the other team officials flew back to Lagos on Wednesday night aboard a South African Airways flight.

NFF’s Director of Competitions, Ruth David told that 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 this year’s Olympic Tournament. 

“SAFA officials made it clear that we were thenceforth on our own. They said the bus would not move us to anywhere again, 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.

“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 well-taken penalty separated the two leading African women teams over both legs and sent the Falcons to France, while the Banyana will miss a third Olympics after their only previous appearance in London 12 years ago.

NFF Media
Author: NFF Media

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