Strong indications emerged yesterday that the anticipate Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe has been cancelled following the withdrawal of the Central African nation from the contest.
The first leg was billed to hold at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Friday September 22nd while the encounter could have afforded thousands of Nigerian fans to see the glamorous women’s team after their sterling performance at the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australian and New Zealand.
But a top official in the Sunday Dankaro House said yesterday that the match will no longer hold following the withdrawal of their opponent from the contest.
Although financial sanction would be placed on the Central African nation, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has no plan to make use of the FIFA window because the secretariat has written to the respective clubs of the invited players to stay action.
“The Nigeria Football Federation would like to inform you that Sao Tome withdraws from the Qualifier game which the Federation has sent letters of invitation to individuals club’s earlier for the release of their players. Thanking you for your understanding,” the letter to the clubs stated.
As a result of this withdrawal, the Nigerian women have automatically advanced to the second round without having to play any matches.
The Nigerian ladies demonstrated their strength in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, progressing unbeaten from the group stage rounds and holding England to a draw before exiting in a penalty shootout.
The Super Falcons will now await the winner of the tie between Cape Verde and Liberia in the second round of qualifiers. The victorious team from that contest will earn a spot in the 2024 WAFCON, which is set to be hosted by Morocco.
In the previous edition of the tournament, also hosted by Morocco, the Super Falcons finished in fourth place.
Now, they have another opportunity to showcase their talents and vie for the championship title in the upcoming competition.