Sao Tome and Principe’s women’s national team have made an unexpected withdrawal from the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier match, originally slated for Friday, September 22, against the Super Falcons of Nigeria.
The Super Falcons and Sao Tome and Principe’s women’s national team were set to clash in the first leg of their qualification match at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos, with the second leg scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, at the same venue.
Preparations were underway, with the 24 Super Falcons players expected to begin arriving in the country for the match. However, the withdrawal of Sao Tome and Principe has changed the course of events.
According to Ademola Olajire, the Director of Communications for the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Sao Tome and Principe’s decision to withdraw from the game stems from financial constraints. He revealed, “Sao Tome has officially withdrawn from the game against Nigeria. They said they don’t have a stadium in their country, and that has increased their cost of participating in international competitions.”
In light of this development, the Super Falcons have automatically advanced to the second round of the qualification series, while Sao Tome and Principe’s women’s team exits the competition.
The Super Falcons are now gearing up to face either Cape Verde or Liberia in the second round of qualifiers, scheduled to take place between November 27 and December 5, 2023. The victor of this round will secure an automatic berth in the 2024 WAFCON, which will be hosted in Morocco.
It is worth noting that Sao Tome and Principe’s women’s team’s withdrawal from this match comes on the heels of a prior incident. The team had previously declined to play against the Nigerian women’s team after the Super Eagles secured a resounding 16-0 aggregate victory over Sao Tome and Principe’s men during the 2023 AFCON qualifiers.