A FIFA Council Member and the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, has said that the Super Falcons were challenged by laser lights directed to their eyes by the crowd during their defeat to host Morocco in the semi-final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
Amaju who condemned the use of laser lights on the players, showered encomiums on nine-time African champions, Super Falcons for a valiant display despite several odds and obstacles in their Women AFCON semi final encounter against host nation.
Fans on Monday directed the beaming laser lights directly into the eyes of the Falcons players to disrupt their play at the full-packed Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco.
Super Falcons were reduced to 10 women after midfielder Halimat Ayinde was given her marching orders in the 48th minute following a clumsy challenge on a Moroccan player, with the intimidation from the 42,500 crowds.
However, the NFF media team in a statement, Pinnick while hailing the Falcons for their gallant display despite all odds also condemned the laser lights directed at the players.
He said, “Of course, we would have been happy to be in the final and chase a 10th title. But I am happy with the performance of the team and the way and manner they approached the game despite all sorts of setbacks and intimidation,” Pinnick said.
“To play 50 minutes of a game with only nine players is not an easy task. The Super Falcons gave their all and were truly fabulous. They had the ‘Nigeria spirit’ in them and showed a sense of patriotism, were dogged, and refused to give up. Penalties are forever a lottery, so it could have gone either way. I commend the team for the outing.
“Our girls did a massive job on a night they were not only depleted but challenged by laser lights trained on their eyes by the crowd. I am enamoured by their resilience and tenacity.”
“Our girls did a massive job on a night they were not only depleted but challenged by laser lights trained on their eyes by the crowd. I am enamoured by their resilience and tenacity. The next step now is for the Federation to do everything possible to prepare the team adequately for the FIFA World Cup finals coming up next year.”
Pinnick added that he is delighted with the strong pipeline at the moment, with the U20 girls and U17 girls having also qualified for their respective FIFA World Cup tournaments and boasting interesting prospects who can easily fit into the senior team.
“The supply line looks strong enough to continue to present us with good and ambitious players for the coming years. We will have a delightful combination of experienced and youthful players for the World Cup finals.”