Reigning African women champions, Super Falcons of Nigeria have withdrawn from a 12-nation tournament which kicks off in Turkey this week, citing visa issues.
The Super Falcons were scheduled to lock horns with Group B rivals, France, Kosovo and Kazakhstan from this week to March 7 as preparation for this year’s Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers.
But the team which finished third at the regional WAFU Cup last Saturday, has withdrawn from the competition for logistical reasons.
“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 newsmen
“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.”
The news comes as a real setback for the country and newly appointed coach, Swede Thomas Dennerby.
Before his arrival, the Super Falcons had not played or trained since lifting the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for an eighth time in 2016, when Dennerby’s predecessor Florence Omagbemi became the first woman to win the competition as both player and coach.
The lack of action prompted criticism from strikers Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala – the latter surprisingly named African Women’s Player of the Year last month despite Nigeria not playing a single game 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 is 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.
Rivers State Government Announces Closure Of Markets
Commissioner for Information and Communications.
COVID-19: Rivers State Government Launches Free Bus Scheme …To Operate From 6:30am To 7pm Daily
Rivers State Government has launched a COVID-19 Free Bus Scheme to cushion the effect of the pandemic on citizens.
Inaugurating the Scheme in Port Harcourt today, the Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Sunny Ejekwu commended the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the initiative which is the first of it’s kind in the country.
Mr. Ejekwu stated that the buses will ply Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Eleme Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme.
“With the launch of this scheme, you can feel the pulse of a Governor that is concerned about the health and welfare of Rivers people.
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, Governor Wike has done so much to show his love for his people. You remember that in terms of palliatives he has spent a lot of resources besides the facilities he has put in place for the safety of the people,” he stated.
He said the 28 luxury buses will operate strictly in line with advisories on social distancing, use of hand sanitizers and wearing of face masks.
The buses, he said, will pick and drop passengers only at designated bus stops.
The commissioner added that the buses will operate from 6:30 am to 7 pm daily.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, described the Free Bus Scheme as “a gift you get from a compassionate and visionary leader.”
He called on Rivers people to appreciate the fact that Governor Wike is desirous to make sure that they do not suffer during this period.
A cross section of commuters expressed happiness with the initiative of Governor Wike.
Mercy Nna said she could not believe that government will provide such a free service.
Another commuter Emmanuel Mbang described the initiative as very commendable and thanked Governor Wike for the gesture.
Recall that on May 27, 2020 the State Executive Council Meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike at Government House, Port Harcourt approved the implementation of the Free Bus Scheme.
Rivers State Begins Decontamination Exercise
The Rivers State Government has kick started the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from coronavirus.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who flagged off the programme today at Government House, Port Harcourt, said with the commencement of the exercise, all public places in the state will be decontaminated.
He restated his administration’s commitment to the protection of the lives of everyone living and doing business in the state.
”I have always said that the lives of Rivers people and those living and doing business in the state is paramount. Part of the reason why markets are still shut is because we have not decontaminated them.
“As we decontaminate the markets, particularly the ones in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Area, traders will undertake to abide by all relevant protocols because we are talking about the lives of people.
“All public and private schools will be decontaminated before schools open. Churches and motor parks will also be decontaminated,” he stated.
The Governor reiterated that coronavirus is real and that people who denied its existence have started believing due to the number of persons that had died.
He warned that government will not allow recalcitrant persons who refuse to obey government advisories to infect law abiding citizens with the virus.
“This issue of COVID- 19 is real and government will not hesitate to seal up and prosecute owners of banks, shopping malls, restaurants, shops, business places or offices that fail to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in their premises,” he said.
He urged the Decontamination Team not to compromise standards but to put in their best to ensure that the entire state is decontaminated.
In his speech, the Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Bro. Felix Obuah said the Decontamination Team made up of medical and environmental experts was put in place in line with the governor’s directives to decontaminate public places in the state.
The Leader of the Decontamination Team, Dr. Ian Abraham Gobo pledged that the team will carry out the exercise with utmost dedication.
He commended the Governor for putting Rivers people first in his fight against COVID-19,adding that the decontamination of the state will give the people a new lease of live when normal business activities resume.
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