Home Sports Falconets are players of Nigeria’s future, coach Danjuma says

Falconets are players of Nigeria’s future, coach Danjuma says


By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Benin –   The Falconets’ Chief Coach, Christopher Danjuma, on Monday in Benin described the present crop of players in the Falconets team as “players of the future’’.

The coach told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the players were not only technically and tactically gifted but highly intelligent as well.

“The team is what I can call `work-in-progress’, but Nigeria has a lot to hope with this set of players.

“Apart from the discipline the players exhibited all through the just-ended 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, they are always willing to learn and they also try to improve on their past performances.

“I see a future of Nigeria in this present team of under-20 girls. It is evident from the games they play that they don’t just score goals but work the goals as a team,” he said.

Danjuma, who said he never nursed any fears about his opponents prior to the commencement of the qualifiers, described the fixture against Moroccans as the most tasking.

“The Moroccans are not difficult per se, but the big challenge is in the sense that we have the opportunity to take them up in Rabat but we did not.

“There was now a delay in getting goals as we came to Benin for the second leg.

“The Moroccan players are individually technically good. They are sound individually.

“So, I will not say it was a difficult match, but a stretched one because the goals did not come on time and this in a way stretched the players’ mentality.

“You know we are a team that always scored in the first half of every one of our matches.”

On his plans for the team, the coach said the team would be beefed up before the World Cup to be hosted by France in August.

He said his desire was not just to qualify for the World Cup, but to make an impact by either matching or surpassing the country’s previous achievement at the tournament.

“It is good that we know what is at stake. It is not just to qualify in Africa, not just to be a good representative, but to make an impact at the global stage.

“As we are now done with the qualifiers, we will go back to the drawing board to begin to build on successes recorded from the qualifiers.

“We will beef up the squad, and we will be doing 70 per cent beefing up because this is no longer African affair, and we will be facing the world next.

“If you want to go far at the world stage or achieve our goal, then we need to beef up the team.

“We have good goal scoring record, with over 20 goals scored and conceding only two. It is now for us to work on their mentality level, now that we are at the world stage.

“We are going to also beef up the mentality of the players to let them know that Africa is done with, and that they are now facing the world,’’ Danjuma said.

He said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has already requested that a proposal for the team’s plans towards the World Cup be submitted.

On the friendly matches lined up for the team, the coach said the draws for the World Cup would decide the type of countries to play the friendly matches with.

“Whoever the draws pitch us with will determine the kind of friendly matches to be played.”

Speaking on the team’s star player, Rasheedat Ajibade, Danjuma said she was still learning.

“She is a player that is still cutting her teeth. She is still learning because she is young and just coming up.

“She is a player who is willing to learn and give her best in every match, not just in goal scoring but being a team member or player. This is very important.

“But in the next four to five years, we are going to have many Ajibades,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the Falconets on Saturday qualified for the 9th FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, after defeating the Besetsana of South Africa 8-0 aggregate in the qualifiers’ final round.

The team had earlier defeated their Tanzanian and Moroccan counterparts.(NAN)

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