Secretary-General of world football-governing body (FIFA), Ms Fatma Samoura has commended the Super Falcons of Nigeria for reaching the Round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, saying their feat has brought joy to women’s football as a whole with their elegance and self-assuredness on the pitch, as well as African women football and the African girl-child.
The 0-0 draw with Republic of Ireland meant the Falcons finished unbeaten in their Group B, a first-ever for an African team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“I must say that personally, I am proud of you. As you know, I am the first woman to be Secretary General of FIFA since the organisation was founded in 1904, and I am also an African. So, I am easily excited by any accomplishment that glorifies women’s football and African football,” Samoura said as she addressed the nine-time African champions at the dressing room after the match at Lang Park.
In company with Nigeria’s leader of delegation, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu, NFF 1st Vice President, and NFF Board Members Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, Rt. Hon. Margaret Icheen, Alhaji Babagana Kalli and Ms Aisha Falode; Samoura said the performance of the Falcons is a terrific inspiration to other African teams at the tournament.
“You have won one match here, as Morocco and Zambia, but you are the only team that has made it to the knock-out stage yet. I am also excited because when FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced my name as the new FIFA Secretary-General, I was in Nigeria working for the United Nations. So, Nigeria is a second home for me.
“You should continue to believe in yourselves and play as a team, and be ready to lift the African flag higher in this tournament.”
Gelson Fernandes, the director for Africa at FIFA, himself a former Swiss international player, urged the Super Falcons to retain their self-belief and be ready to confront and surmount every obstacle on their way to the Final.