The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said it is targeting the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) trophies which will be held next year in Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco respectively.
NFF president, Ibrahim Musa Gusau, stated this during a media parley to mark the one-year anniversary of his board in Abuja on Tuesday. Tribune Sports recall that Gusau was elected as NFF president during the Federation Elective Congress which was held in Benin City, Edo State capital, on September 30, 2022.
According to Gusau, “all hands are on deck to make sure that the Super Eagles win the AFCON trophy for the fourth time when hostilities get underway in Cote D’Ivoire in January 2024.”
He said the time has come for Nigeria 10 years after its last triumph in South Africa to lay its hands on the coveted trophy again.
The NFF president also added that the Federation will not relent in its efforts to see that the three-time African champions get all the support it need to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
“We are working with Jose Peseiro and his crew to harmonise strategies to see that the Super Eagles win the AFCON which is very key. We are now working hard and planning a befitting camp for them and all they require for us to see how they can win the Nations Cup. It is 10 years now since we have won the AFCON and by the grace of God, we’ll keep doing our best working with the secretariat and the Ministry of Sports to see how we can achieve that and bring back the trophy after 10 years.
“We are trying to see how we can work hand in hand with the secretariat (of the NFF) and closely with the Ministry (of Sports Development) to ensure that we have smooth preparations and support for the Super Eagles in their quest to qualify for the World Cup in 2026 which will take place in the USA, Canada and Mexico.”
On what the NFF was doing to make sure that the Super Falcons win the next WAFCON, Gusau said, “We will work patiently with the head coach to see how the Super Falcons will play in the Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON). Last year was in Morocco and we are still going back to Morocco. By the grace of God, we are going to qualify in November. We’ll see how we can bring back the cup. We are also going to play against Ethiopia for the qualifiers for the Olympics. We are working hard to see that we go back to the Olympics because it is not good for us that we have missed the Olympics. We are working hard to see that Super Falcons are in France.”
Giving the reason the NFF is organising Mozambique friendly for the Super Eagles taking place later in the month, he said the Federation will always try as much as possible to make use of FIFA windows to organise quality and grade A friendlies for the Super Eagles.
“Since we came on board, we have tried to utilise all FIFA windows we have to organise matches for the Super Eagles. And that is why you can see that we are going to Portugal to play Saudi Arabia and Mozambique.
“If you look at it, Mozambique came from the same axis as the three countries that we will be playing when the World Cup qualifiers start. That is Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe. They are from the same axis and they play the same pattern of football. That is why we feel it’s important for us to play that friendly and it is very significant for us. For all FIFA windows, we’ll make sure that we organise quality friendlies for the Super Eagles because that is the only way we can get back the confidence of the team and indeed the coach.”
Gusau also rolled out the achievements of his board in the last year which included the outstanding performance of the Super Falcons at the Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the feat of the women’s U17 national team, the Flamingos in India where they won bronze, the constitution of substantive various league boards, the qualification of the Super Eagles for AFCON among others.
“The first assignment of this board was the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in India where it ended in bronze for us. Secondly, I met the constitution of the Interim Management Committee (IMC). The board (of the NFF) and the ministry (of sports) then tried to come together and came with the IMC to organise the league for a period of one season. And thank God, they carried out their assignment successfully.
“We also took the U20 men’s national team to the African Cup of Nations AFCON in Cairo, Egypt and we eventually qualified and participated at the World Cup in Argentina. Our U20 women’s team also won a silver medal at the WAFU level. We also qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and that is a mileage. We had the best-ever performance of our senior female national team, the Super Falcons. It was not the first time that Nigeria got to the round of 16, I think in 1999 we were in the quarter-finals. This time around, their qualification and participation attested to the fact that the Falcons are a team to reckon with as they had their best performance ever at the World Cup.
“The Super Eagles have also qualified for the Nations Cup that is coming up in January in Cote d’Ivoire. We qualified before our last match with Sao Tome and Principe. We have also constituted the boards of various leagues and brought on competent individuals who by the grace of God will toe the line of what we had at IMC which was eventually given the mandate to continue for a period of two years.
“We constituted the boards of the Women’s League (NWFL), the National League (NNL) and the Nationwide League (NLO). Also part of our activities was to see elections for various FAs in the states. These are some of our achievements so far.”
READ ALSO FROM SPORTING TRIBUNE