Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick on Thursday promised to reward the Super Falcons with $10,000 if they retain the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations title in Ghana on Saturday.
The Falcons battle Banyana Banyana of South Africa in the final of the competition at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana on Saturday. The two teams have qualified for the France 2019 World Cup but while the Falcons are seeking to win their ninth African crown, the South Africans want to claim their first title.
Pinnick, who visited the team at their hotel in Accra on Thursday, appealed to the team to win the title as a birthday gift for him. The CAF 1st vice president’s birthday is on Saturday.
The Falcons had earned $3,000 for a win in the group phase but were earmarked for $5,000 each for victory in the final.
In a statement on Thursday, Pinnick thanked the team for their resilience, adding that the trophy would be an appreciation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to football development in the country.
“I want to let you know that the government and the good and great people of Nigeria are happy with your performance in the championship so far. They are looking forward to you retaining the trophy by beating South Africa on Saturday.
“Let me commend the lofty commitment, dedication and resilience that you have displayed so far in the championship, alongside that unique Nigerian spirit that was mostly in evidence against the Cameroonians in the semi-final. You are indeed true champions, and we believe you will retain the Cup on Saturday. Go out there and win on Saturday and earn yourselves $10,000 each, as against the $5,000 that the NFF earlier promised.”
Chairman of the Nigeria Women’s Football League Aisha Falode, who was also at the event, thanked the NFF president for the kind gesture, advising the players to use football to bring the nation together.
Team coach Thomas Dennerby also appreciated Pinnick for his promises to the team, adding that the team would not have achieved much without the efforts of the backroom staff, who have forged a strong bond with him.
The team’s captain Onome Ebi and Rita Chikwelu promised that they would overcome Banyana Banyana in Saturday’s final in order to return to Nigeria with the trophy.
Ebi said, “We have the World Cup ticket now, which was always our first target here. The second is winning the cup for a third successive time and ninth time overall. It is a mission we are determined to accomplish on Saturday.”