President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has praised players and officials of Bayelsa Queens FC for their impressive 2-0 victory over TP Mazembe ladies in their CAF Women Champions League group phase match in Marrakech on Thursday and has charged the Nigerian representatives to sustain belief in their ability to win the trophy.
Speaking through the leader of delegation, Alhaji Babagana Kalli, the NFF told the Nigeria Women Football League champions to keep their eyes on the ball and take it one match at a time as they seek first to qualify for the knockout phase.
“I am impressed with the way you picked up morale and fought back from your defeat to the defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa to overcome TP Mazembe. You have shown the true Nigerian spirit and the NFF and all Nigerians are happy about this.
“The NFF, the Bayelsa State Government and all football –loving Nigerians will continue to support and pray for you as you progress in the tournament. Only on Sunday, we celebrated the historic bronze medal-winning feat of the Flamingos at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in India. I have the belief that Nigerians will soon celebrate another historic moment in women’s football through Bayelsa Queens,” Gusau told the players and officials through Alhaji Babagana Kalli, who is a ranking NFF Board Member and FIFA and CAF Match Commissioner.
Gusau also assured the team that if it makes it to the final of the competition, he will be in Morocco to cheer the team alongside the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
After a narrow 1-2 defeat to the Cup holders in their opening match, the Queens surged to a 2-0 lead after 24 minutes against the Congolese team in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Thursday, and that was how it ended.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ 5-0 whiplash of Wadi Degla of Egypt on Thursday, in the other match of the group, means that the Cup holders have six maximum points from their two matches, while Bayelsa Queens are second with three points, ahead of TP Mazembe who also have three points but with one goal disadvantage.
The Nigerian champions will take on group whipping girls Wadi Degla on Sunday evening, and will reach the knockout stage with a minimum win. TP Mazembe will try their luck against Cup holders and group leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
Already, Moroccan champions ASFAR, complete with Atlas Queens’ star player Fatima Tagnaout, have qualified for the semi finals after two wins, defeating Simba Queens of Tanzania and Green Buffaloes of Zambia. Determine Girls of Liberia, the other team in the group, have lost both games against Simba Queens and Green Buffaloes, and are already eliminated.
The tournament in Morocco is only the second edition of the CAF Women Champions League, with the first in Egypt last year, where Rivers Angels represented Nigeria.