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Nigeria’s U-20 Women’s team, the Falconets will have to toughen up as opponents, Zimbabwe are ready to employ under-hand tactics to get a victory

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has decried maltreatment claims by their Zimbabwean counterparts. Zimbabwean football officials have reported that their U-20 women’s team, who were defeated 3-0 in Abeokuta two weeks ago were unfairly treated by the NFF.

In a telegram sent to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja by the Nigerian High Commission in Harare, the Mission detailed how the Zimbabweans have painted a picture of poor treatment by their Nigerian hosts.

The match in question was the first leg of a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifying fixture in Abeokuta on March 31.

“All their claims are totally unfounded”, said NFF’s Director of Competitions, Mohammed Sanusi. “They started making those claims right from here in Nigeria, when they told the Match Commissioner that the NFF did not send a vehicle to their hotel to bring their officials to the match coordination meeting.

“I challenged them there and then, and they didn’t know what to say. They also claimed that we didn’t receive them at the airport, whereas four of our protocol officials and officials from the Ogun State Ministry of Sports were at the Murtala Muhammed Airport to receive their delegation on arrival.

“They were driven to Abeokuta in a brand-new vehicle released for that purpose by the Ogun State Government. We are thoroughly disappointed at these bare-faced lies”, added Sanusi.

In the telegram sent by the Nigeria High Commission, it was said that the Zimbabweans claimed they had to undertake a journey from Lagos of more than two hours and were then accommodated in a sub-standard hotel.

But Sanusi countered these statements. “The distance between the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Abeokuta is not superior to 200 kilometres, which is the limit allowed for road travel in the regulations.

“Also, it is a big lie to say they were accommodated at a sub-standard hotel. The delegation was kept at LaRoy Suites in Abeokuta, which by any standard is a good hotel.

“Perhaps, they were looking for excuses for their defeat by the Falconets, and preparing ground for hostility by their people when our team gets to Zimbabwe for the return leg on Sunday.

“We are not bothered. Our girls have been told to expect the worst and not be distracted, but to focus on the assignment at hand and deal decisively with the Zimbabweans”, concluded Sanusi.

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