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Nigeria misses second straight Olympics with loss

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Nigeria’s women’s soccer team will not take part in the Olympics for the second straight competition. The reigning African champions lost, 2-1 to Equatorial Guinea on Sunday to lose the two-leg series, 3-2 on aggregate.

Equatorial Guinea — which participated in the 2011 Women’s World Cup — next takes on South Africa in a home-and-home series with the winner advancing to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. 2015 Women’s World Cup participants Ivory Coast and Cameroon will play in the other two-leg series, with the winner taking Africa’s other berth to the 2016 Olympics.

Nigeria also missed the 2012 Olympics in London. The Super Falcons have qualified for all seven Women’s World Cups but only got out of the group once. They finished last in Group D at the 2015 World Cup, exiting at the group stage. 2015 World Cup coach Edwin Okon was recently let go. Christopher Danjuma took over on an interim basis. The Nigerian Football Federation is reportedly in search of a foreign coach.

Nigeria played Sunday’s match without several regular stars, including BBC World Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala. But there are no excuses. Nigeria has spent over a decade stuck in neutral.

“The NFF president has quickly announced that there’s no quick fix and that we need a much broader review,” an NFF spokesman told BBC Sport. “We have to fast-track our entire plans for the revival of the women’s game from the coaching situation to sponsorship.

“There’s no point just changing the coach hoping for the best without putting the structures in place. The immediate plan now is to restructure the women’s league, implement all the professional plans of the NFF board to ensure the successful change is a permanent one.”

The two legs for the remaining four teams in Olympic qualifying will be played on Oct. 2 and Oct. 16.

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