Nigeria’s senior women football team Super Falcons are through to the final qualification round of the 2014 African Women’s Championship (AWC) billed for Namibia, after Sierra Leone opted out of the scheduled qualifier against the six-time African champions.
Both West African nations were due to meet in the first-leg fixture on February 14 at the Abuja National Stadium while the reverse fixture was scheduled for a fortnight in Freetown before Sierra Leone voluntarily offered a withdrawal letter.
In a letter dated 9th January, addressed to the General Secretary of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and copied to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the acting general secretary of the Sierra Leone Football Association said:
“I write with regrets to inform you our decision to withdraw our National Female football team from participating in the aforementioned Championship scheduled to kick off mid-February 2014.
“The decision which was reached at our last Executive Committee is due to the present financial status of our Football Association which makes it difficult to honour our proposed fixture against Nigeria in February this year.”
Nigeria will now have to wait for the winner of the fixture between Kenya and Rwanda to determine their second-round opponent. The two-legged second-round encounter comes up in May.
The 2014 AWC also serves as a qualifier for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. The finalists at the Namibia tournament clinch the qualification tickets to represent Africa at the World Cup.
Prior to Sierra Leone’s withdrawal, Falcons coach Edwin Okon had invited 30 members of the team to camp, which was expected to begin on January 11.
The coaches are therefore expected to inform the players of the recent development so as to disregard the earlier scheduled date for camping.
The Falcons finished fourth in the previous edition of the AWC in Equatorial Guinea.