ABUJA – Football enthusiasts are confident the Falconets would perform well at the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada in spite of drawing 1-1 with Mexico on Wednesday.
The national under-20 women football team drew their opening Group C match in Moncton, leaving them with one point from one match.
The other match in the group saw South Korea drawing 1-1 with England also, leaving all four teams in the group at par at one point each.
The Falconets who came from behind to draw level against the Mexicans are now expected to win their second game on Saturday against South Korea, also in Moncton.
A win against the Asians is expected, for them to have an edge in the group ahead of their final match on Wednesday against England.
However, a cross-section of football enthusiasts who spoke to NAN in Abuja said they were optimistic that the Falconets would qualify from the group stage.
They said they believed the Falconets would get better as the tournament progresses, as long as they remain focused.
The Director of Technical, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Emmanuel Ikpeme, said the team’s technical crew only has to work on the players’ finishing for them to excel in the tournament.
“The match (against Mexico) was a good one but they (the Falconets) played better in the second half than the first, even though they failed to convert their chances.
“Now, the coach has to work on their (the players) finishing for them to go far because the group is now open.
“It all now depend on who is able to win their second match, because they all have one point each with the same number of goals.
“But the fact still remains that they still have the chance to go as far as they want in the tournament, though it is only if they can convert goal scoring opportunities when they get them,’’ Ikpeme said.
Secretary of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), Danlami Alanana, said it was noteworthy that the team had good ball possession and created a lot of chances during the game.
“That (result) was in itself a good sign. It was just unfortunate that they could not get the needed goals.
It was a good match for them, because they had scoring chances and had good ball possession, but they could not really make an impact with all these. [eap_ad_2] “But the good thing is that the chances and possession is an indication that they had a good control of the game.
“They (the Falconets) just need to perfect their art in front of goal. I am sure the technical crew has seen the lapses and will work on them before the next match.
“But I see them going far, because I believe they will get better as the tournament progresses,” Alanana said.
Coach of NIMC Football Club of Abuja, Mansur Abdullahi, said the Falconets need to draw on the experience of some of their players and remain focused.
“They should just remain focused and make use of every opportunity they get in their next match to ensure a win,’’ he said.
A sports journalist, Femi Akande, said the Falconets did well and have all it takes to even win the competition.
“They should work more on themselves and avoid missing goal scoring chances the way they did in their match against Mexico on Wednesday.
“Probably that was because it was their first match. But I am sure that they will do better in their remaining matches,’’ he said.
A taxi driver in Abuja, John Okachi, also said the Falconets needed to be more focused.
“The game against Mexico was good and I am happy that the girls fought hard.
“But the Falconets should make a name for themselves by at least reaching the quarter-finals of the competition.
“I am sure that they will make us proud by performing better in other matches,’’ Okachi said.
Nigeria are in Group C alongside Mexico, South Korea and England[eap_ad_3]