8th December, 2014
President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick, has once again assured the Super Falcons of high –level preparations ahead of the 7th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Canada next year’s summer.
The NFF supremo spoke on Saturday night, hours after the African champions were drawn in the same group with United States of America, Australia and Sweden at the finals taking place 6 June – 5 July, 2015 across six Canadian cities.
“It is a tough group. You can see that even the Americans are calling it the most difficult group in the competition.
“However, our pledge to give the Super Falcons the best high –performance preparation possible is intact. They will go to a very good environment for their final camping programme and be engaged in quality friendly matches before the finals,” Pinnick reassured.
Nigeria’s senior women’s team won a seventh African title in Namibia in October and will be expected to fly Africa’s flag high in North America.
“It is important that we exceed our previous best performance of a quarter –final berth. Having dominated Africa ceaselessly, it is time that we begin to dominate the world.
“We certainly have the players who can stand up to the best in the universe, as shown by the U-20 girls in the same Canadian nation in August this year. What the team needs now are matches against some of the best teams in the world and exposure to the best tactical and training programmes available.”
Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Edwin Okon, Team Administrator Ruth David and Team Media Officer Gracious Akujobi were at the ceremony held in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Referees Committee of the NFF, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh on Sunday praised the general attitude and commitment of Nigeria’s elite referees who are presently on a two –week capacity enhancing programme in the United Kingdom.
Fresh, also a member of the NFF Executive Committee, is also the leader of delegation at the programme. “I am enamoured by the spirit that the referees have brought to this programme. They have shown total dedication and I am very proud to be leading this group of worthy ambassadors,” Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Assistant Director (Communication) quoted Fresh to have said on telephone from London.
The contingent, also including the President of Nigeria Referees Association, Alhaji Ahmed Maude, arrived in London on Wednesday evening after flying from Lagos.
On Thursday, the 11 referees had their first training session at Wembley Stadium, where Mr. Ian Blanchard, head of refereeing at The Football Association, lectured them for three hours on structure of refereeing, laws of the game and players/coaches/referees’ relationship.
On Friday, the referees were at Southampton’s St. Mary’s ground to watch a match between the U-18 teams of Southampton and West Brom, after which they were engaged in a two-hour question-and-answer session with Mr. Albert, head of refereeing at Southampton.
On Saturday, Nigeria’s leading arbiters were at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester to watch the English Premiership match between Manchester City and Everton, which City won 1-0. They wrote a report of the refereeing aspect immediately after the match.
The referees will this week embark on a tour of Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium, be involved in analyzing weekend Premier League matches, visit The FA’s High Performance training facility at St. George’s Park and be at a referees’ training organisation’s ground to give talk on fitness and conditioning.