Su­per Fal­cons in fi­nal push for 2019 AW­CON semi-fi­nal ticket

Weekly Trust - - Trust Sports -

4-2 with Per­petua Nk­wocha and De­sire Opara­nozie scor­ing a goal each plus two own goals which en­sured that Nige­ria re­gained her lost crown.

It is, there­fore, ev­i­dent that foot­ball ri­valry ex­ists be­tween the two teams. How­ever, the Fal­cons are ex­pected to con­tinue from where Zam­bia and South Africa stopped their mas­sacre of the Nza­lang Na­cional of Equa­to­rial Guinea as they bid to make it to the semi-fi­nals.

Although they are favoured to win to­day’s match, Su­per Fal­cons have been warned not to be too con­fi­dent as they get set t meet mis­er­able Equa­to­rial Guinea.

Much is ex­pected from the Fal­cons be­cause when they had their backs to the wall, they came out smok­ing against the She­p­olopolo of Zam­bia.

Apart from the reign­ing African Women’s Foot­baller of the Year, Asisat Oshoala had a poor game by her high stan­dard, the rest of the play­ers jus­ti­fied the con­fi­dence re­posed in them by coach Den­nerby.

The Dalian Quan­jian F.C of China player wasted a num­ber of good goal scor­ing chances in the game. For­tu­nately enough, her fail­ures were cov­ered by her team­mates De­sire Opara­nozie, Fran­cisca Ordega, lit­tle Rashee­dat Ajibade and Oko­ronkwo who came to the team’s res­cue.

Den­nerby, was re­lieved by the vic­tory over Zam­bia but opined that the team could have got­ten more goals against the She­p­olopolo.

“First of all, I am very happy we man­aged to score four goals in this game, but hon­estly I am not 100 per cent happy with our per­for­mance be­cause we should have scored more goals,” he told CAF me­dia.

“Af­ter our open­ing game in which we lost, I talked about be­ing pro­fes­sional and us­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to come back in the next game, not be­ing anx­ious and work on hard.

“I don’t think this game we won to­day (Wed­nes­day) is the defin­ing game in the group and now we have to work harder in our next fix­ture so we se­cure a place in the semi-fi­nals. So we stay cool and keep work­ing. Of course I am hap­pier than three days ago.”

Also speak­ing to Trust Sports, a for­mer as­sis­tant Su­per Fal­cons coach, Mansur Ab­dul­lahi ex­pressed hap­pi­ness that the Fal­cons didn’t al­low the mo­men­tary set­back in their first match to deny them vic­tory against Zam­bia.

“I want to com­mend the Su­per Fal­cons on their con­vinc­ing win over Zam­bia. Hav­ing coached the team be­fore, I am not sur­prised by their per­for­mance.

“The team has qual­ity and can rise to the oc­ca­sion es­pe­cially when faced with any se­ri­ous chal­lenge. Although they lost to South Africa, I still be­lieved they would bounce back to­day (Wed­nes­day),” he said.

Ab­dul­lahi there­fore tasked the Fal­cons to build on their vic­tory over Zam­bia as they pre­pare for their last group match against Equa­to­rial Guinea.

“The vic­tory calls for cel­e­bra­tion but I want them to move on from there. There are more matches to play so they should stay fo­cused.

“I be­lieve they know the im­por­tance of vic­tory in their last group match with Equa­to­rial Guinea. They need to win to reach to progress,” he ad­vised.

A win for the Nige­ri­ans against Equa­to­rial Guinea who were beaten 7-1 by the Bayana Bayana of South on Wed­nes­day will see them book a place in the semi-fi­nal.

If the Su­per Fal­cons reach the semi­fi­nals, they would have only two hur­dles to sur­mount.

Even if they lose in the semi-fi­nals, vic­tory in the losers match also called third place match would fetch them one of the three tick­ets to the Women’s World Cup in France in 2019.

Since the 2019 AW­CON is serv­ing as qual­i­fiers for the 2019 World Cup, only the first three na­tions will qual­ify to be among the 24 teams that would slug it out in the global cham­pi­onship billed for 7 June to July 7, 2019 in France.

And it is im­per­a­tive to state that Equa­to­rial Guinea are not el­i­gi­ble for one of these places even if they were to make it through be­cause FIFA had placed a ban on them for us­ing in­el­i­gi­ble play­ers in qual­i­fy­ing for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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