Alhaji Aminu Maigari to motivate Super Falcons against France
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari will be in the State Box at the Rhein Neckar Arena, Sinsheim on Sunday to support the National Women’s team, Super Falcons in their first match of the 6th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
Maigari is expected to arrive in Germany on the eve of the match, with a motivational package that he will deliver to the ladies as well as the message of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR.
Also on Friday, officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Germany visited the Super Falcons at their training session, and followed the team to its NH Hotel Heidelberg. The team from the Embassy included the Charge d’Affaires, Mr. Femi Rotimi. They also brought Nigerian food for the girls.
“We have done a lot to prepare the girls for this tournament, and we believe that they are in good form to compete at that very highest level and bring glory to our nation.
“Against France, it will be important that the Falcons take their chances and earn the three points in order to be in good contention for the quarter finals”, Maigari said on Friday.
Sixteen countries are participating in the 6th FIFA Women’s World Cup which opens in Germany on Sunday, with hosts Germany, France, Nigeria and Canada playing in Group A.
Group B has Japan, New Zealand, Mexico and England while USA, North Korea, Colombia and Sweden make up Group C. Brazil heads Group D that also has Australia, Norway and Africa’s second representatives, Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria will next play hosts Germany at the 48,000-capacity Frankfurt World Cup Stadium on Thursday before clashing with Canada in Dresden on July 5.
by Colin Udoh
Super Falcons Receive Well Wishes
The Nigerian women’s football team received well wishes from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) as the team prepares for the upcoming 6th annual FIFA women’s Cup, held in Germany from June 26 to July 17.
Nigeria’s female squad, known as the Super Falcons, arrived in Germany on Wednesday and were received by a team of FIFA and officials at the NH Hotel Hiedelberg, the FIFA accredited hotel for the tournament.
The Assistant General Secretary (competitions) of NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, told journalists in a telephone interview on Friday from Germany that ``we are not afraid of any team. We know we can hold our own against any team. It is always eleven versus eleven players. So if there is really no clear advantage for any side in football”.
``We have prepared very well for the tournament and are optimistic about our chances. The coaches are doing their best and everybody is working round the clock for the team to go into the tournament with a good frame of mind” he said, speaking on their preparations for the tournament.
Coach Eucharia Uche said she could say with certainty that the team has had the best preparation by any Nigerian team at the FIFA women’s tournament.
``We look forward to doing Nigeria proud in our games’’ she said.
During the team’s four-week training camp, the Falcons defeated an Austrian first division team, Wacker Innsbruck, 7-0, edged the Czech National Women’s team 1-0 and were held to a 1-1 draw by the Austrian national women’s team.
They also drew 2-2 with the Slovakians and won 3-2 and 6-1 in two matches against the U-17 men’s team.
The team comprises 21 players and eight officials, all of whom have been in a training camp in Saalfelden, Austria for the past four weeks.
Nigeria’s Falcons have been to all five previous FIFA women’s World Cup tournaments in China in 1991, Sweden in 1995, USA in 1999 and 2003 and China in 2007.
Nigeria will take on France in the first match of this year’s tournament at the Sinsheim stadium on Sunday, the opening day of the competition.
The Falcons next match is with the hosts and favorites Germany in Frankfurt.
Germans eye 3rd women’s World Cup
When Germany won their first major title in women’s football at the 1989 European Championship, the players received a gift – a discounted coffee set.
The second-choice product from a local manufacturer, featuring a tacky design of red and blue blooming flowers, may have been a poor choice for a prize but, then again, the German Football Federation once banned organised women’s football from 1955 to 1970.
The women’s game has come a long way since its pioneer days. If the German team win the upcoming tournament at home, each player will receive a bonus of $85,410
“The World Cup will give women’s football a new dimension,” says Katja Kraus, a former Germany goalkeeper who has risen to top management levels in the men’s Bundesliga.
The women’s domestic league, which is semi-professional at best, needs a major boost. Few teams make money and not many players can live off their earnings.
“That’s going to be the biggest challenge,” DFB general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach said.
The 12-team league had an average attendance last season of fewer than 900 per game, a far cry from the 40000-plus average of the men’s Bundesliga.
Germany will be seeking to become the first team to win three straight titles when the tournament kicks off on Sunday against Canada in Berlin’s Olympic stadium and runs through to July 17.
That was the stadium that also hosted the 2006 men’s World Cup final, when Italy beat France.
The 2006 tournament has been known since as the “summer fairy tale” for its fabulous weather, huge and generally merry and well-behaved crowds that turned it into a month-long party.
German organisers are trying to reproduce that atmosphere for the 32 games spread over nine venues.