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NFF Congratulates Falcons On AWCON Qualification, Says Airport Incident ‘Unfortunate’

Emmanuel Egobiambu  
Updated February 24, 2022
The Super Falcons are the defending African champions. [email protected]

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has lauded the Super Falcons for their 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualification just as condemned health officials’ delay of the team on arrival in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, the football body said the team’s feat reflects their resilience and character. It quoted the president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, as saying the 1-0 victory over the Ivorians is a replica of the Nigerian spirit.

“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,” the statement quoted Pinnick as saying.

“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.”

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‘Unfortunate Incident’

The Super Falcons were delayed for hours at the airport.

 

Nigeria’s qualification for the tournament was overshadowed by reports that the players and officials were delayed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on arrival from Abidjan.

In a viral video, players and officials were visibly angry while officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) insisted that they must carry out COVID-19 tests on arrival in the country. But the NFF in its reaction said it was saddened by the development.

“It was an unfortunate incident because we had our protocol officers on ground at the airport and they did the needful before the team arrived. We are a responsible organization and the various National Teams have been going out and returning to Nigeria since these covid19 protocols, procedures, and guidelines started. We have never been caught napping,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said.

According to him, the NFF had no control over how airport officials handled things, stressing that it did everything to ensure the Super Falcons had a hitch-free return to the country.

“It was beyond us, but we have already apologized to our players and officials over this incident,” Sanusi added.