Falconets head coach, Peter Dedevbo, has remained bullish despite the
6-0 walloping by Japan in Nigeria’s first match at the ongoing FIFA
U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea on Sunday.
Dedevbo, who acknowledged the superiority of the Japanese side,
insisted that the Sunday’s result will not mark the end of the road for
Nigeria in the tournament.
He is optimistic that his girls will bounce back to pick maximum
points from the remaining two matches in the group stage, and charged
the players to put behind them the horror of the first game and focus on
the Canada and Spain challenge.
“We are down but not out, and this is the time for us to fight till
the end of the competition. It would be fool –hardy for us to start
feeling sorry for ourselves because it will affect our focus for the
remaining games in the tournament.
“I must acknowledge the fact that the Japanese side was good, even
though I didn’t envisage the goal margin. The outcome means that we will
return to the trenches and re-strategize.”
Japan powered to victory through strikes from Mami Ueno and Yuka
Momiki, who netted a hat -trick and brace respectively. The duo’s
attacking force resulted in an own goal by Nigerian defender Mary
Ologbosere. Yuka Momiki was named the Live Your Goal player of the
Meanwhile, Falconets defender, Glory Ogbonna, has vowed that the team
will fight on and revive their FIFA U20 FIFA World Cup trophy hopes as
well as redeem Nigeria’s image in Papua New Guinea.
Smarting from the shocking defeat on Sunday, Ogbonna, who plays for
Ibom Angels, noted that the Japan experience is a wake up call to all
the players to gird their loins for the Canada challenge. Fondly called
‘dependable’ by her teammates, the central defender stated that
Nigeria’s footballing prowess and pride at the U20 Women level is at
stake, vowing that Falconets would fight like wounded lionesses against
Canada on Wednesday.
“Collectively as a team we have accepted the fact that we started
badly against Japan, but it doesn’t mean that we have given up because
all hope is not lost. I believe that the reason for Sunday’s defeat was a
clarion call for us as a team to wake up to the harsh realities on
ground. If we had won or drawn that game, apparently, the whole team
would feel that we have arrived.
“Canada is a must-win for us and it is not negotiable. We have learnt
our lessons in a bitter and humiliating way. I want to promise all
Nigerians that we must redeem our image and march on in this
Nigeria will face Canada in their second Group B match on Wednesday,
at the Bava Park Stadium in Port Moresby. Both countries are at the
bottom of the table with no point.