By Ahmed Ma’azu
Federal government has lined up series of activities to express gratitude to the female national team, Super Falcons, over their ninth conquest of the Africa Women Cup of Nations.
The celebration programmes for the Falcons was revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari when he received team.
Kyari, who was at the head of a delegation of prominent personalities, businessmen and officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that received the Falcons on arrival in Abuja, said the ladies have made President Buhari very proud with their feat.
Holding aloft the trophy, the Falcons were wildly cheered by Nigerians at the airport and responded gracefully before they entered the bus that conveyed them to a posh hotel in the Federal Capital.
On arrival at the hotel, Kyari commended the team for a job well done, while also praising them for what he called their zeal, tenacity, energy, determination and patriotism.
Kyari said: “On behalf of Mr. President, who is not in the country at the moment, we say welcome and well done to you.
“We are proud of you and your representation of the country. We will get back to you with the activities lined up for you in the coming days.”
The team won 11th title in 13 editions of the Women’s African Cup of Nations by beating South Africa in a penalty shootout in the final on Saturday.
The game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes and although Nigeria missed its first penalty kick in the shootout, when Onome Ebi hit the post, South Africa missed twice and the Nigerians prevailed 4-3.
Nigeria goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi pulled off the title-clinching save low to her right from Linda Motlhalo’s final penalty for South Africa.
Nigeria is the dominant force in women’s soccer in Africa and its triumph in Ghana was its third title in a row.
Both teams qualified for the Women’s World Cup in France next year by making the final, as did Cameroon, which won the third-place game on Friday.
Asisat Oshoala missed a penalty in normal time for Nigeria when she dragged her 76th-minute spot kick wide, but the favorite ultimately prevailed to avenge a group-stage loss to the South Africans at the start of the tournament.
It was the fifth time South Africa has lost in a final and Banyana Banyana is still searching for a first African title.