Huge disappointment as Nigeria withdraw from tournament before the World Cup due to visa issues


Super Falcons will not be participating in the 12-team invitational tournament which kicks off today, February 26
The Nigerian women’s team recently won bronze medal at the just concluded WAFU tournament in Abidjan- Nigeria will now face France in a friendly game in April to get their 2018 AWCOM qualifier preparations on track
Nigeria senior women national team have blamed their withdrawal from the 12-nation invitational tournament scheduled for kick off this week in Turkey on visa issues.The Super Falcons were drawn in Group B alongside France, Kosovo and Kazakhstan in a competition that will run from 26 February to 7 March, as part of their preparations for this year’s Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers.And the current AWCON champions, who recently won bronze at the 2018 West African Football Union Cup of Nations in Abidjan, have now shifted their attention to the friendly match against France in April.
“It was impossible for the team to sort visas and make it to the tournament in Turkey, so they had to pull out,” Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) spokesman Ademola Olajire told BBC Sport.He added: “They only just finished playing the Wafu Cup on Saturday and had a short time-frame to sort out visas and other important logistics for the trip to Turkey.
“Importantly, attention and preparations will shift towards the big friendly against France in April.”
But the news is not the type that the recently hired coach Thomas Dennerby, would want to hear, as he was hoping to use the tourney get his ladies ready for the competitions coming up later in the year.
Having won their eighth continental title in 2016 in Cameroon, the Falcons were idle for a whole year, and this made the likes of strikers Desire Oparanozie, Asisat Oshoala and Ngozi Okobi take to social media to bear their minds on the lack of playing a single game in over a year.
And despite her lack of performance on the continent, Oshoala was named African Women’s Player of the Year last month in 2017.
Her performances for her new Chinese club, Dalian Quanjian, saw her triumph ahead of Chrestina Kgatlana and Gabrielle Onguene.
However, Dennerby’s first challenge ended in disappointment at the West African championship, the Wafu Women’s Cup, after they lost to bitter rivals Ghana in the semi-finals.
The team will now travel to Europe to play France in a friendly in April, after which the focus will be on securing a qualifying spot at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana.
This year’s Women’s Nations Cup takes on extra significance as it will also decide the continent’s teams for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Nigeria are the only African team to have played in all of the Women’s seven World Cup tournaments since 1991 but they have failed to translate their continental dominance on the world stage. Their best performance came when reaching the quarter-finals in 1999.
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