ABUJA – Coach of the Ghanaian under-20 women football team, Bashir Hayford, on Friday condemned the officiating of his team’s match against their Nigerian counterparts in an international friendly match in Abuja.
Hayford went on to threaten that his team would not play if the same set of referees would officiate in their next match on Sunday.
Both teams had settled for a barren draw in the match played at the FIFA Goal Project Pitch of the Abuja National Stadium.
The match was the first of the two return leg matches they were to play.
They had played the first two matches in Ghana in the four-match series’ first leg earlier this month.
The Falconets won the first game 2-1, while the Black Princesses won 1-0 in the second.
Both teams will now square up in the second match of the return leg at the same venue on Sunday by 3 p.m.
The matches were arranged for both teams to prepare for the forthcoming FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, with both the two African representatives.
In an interview with newsmen after the match on Friday, Hayford said the officiating was unfair as the match was just a preparatory game.
“The match was meant to prepare both teams for the World Cup and not necessarily for any team to win, as the referees made it appear.
“Normally, I do not talk of officiating in matches, because that is their job. If you do well, you will be recommended for other matches.
“But the way they did here today was as if they wanted somebody to win. It is not about winning, but performance of the teams.
“We are both preparing for the World Cup. So, let us see what both teams can play and not what they did today. It should not be a win-by-all-means thing,’’ Hayford said.
He however commended both teams for putting up a good performance.
“Both teams are preparing for the World Cup and it is a good trial game for both of us, because both teams played very well today (Friday).
“It is just that the Falconets are tougher and harder than us, because we are not very strong strenghtwise.
“We promise that you will see an improved play from us in the second match on Sunday. But we are appealing for a fair officiating and a level playing ground, because we both want to go to the World Cup to do well for Africa,’’ Hayford said.
On his part, the Falconets’ coach, Peter Dedevbo, said his players did not key into the game on time.
He however commended their performance in the second half.
“The Ghanaian team is a strong, youthful and organised one. But the problem was just that my players could not play themselves into the game on time, until the second half.
“So, I am okay with what they played in the second half compared to the first half. But everybody will see a better team on Sunday,’’ Dedevbo said.
The Falconets’ captain, Patience Okaeme, blamed the goalless draw on the team’s anxiety to impress the fans in the stands.
“The Black Princesses are a good side and they also qualified for the World Cup we are preparing for.
“But our problem was that we were anxious to score and that is why we lost so many scoring chances. Since we are playing on our home ground, we wanted to win. But we could not.
“But I believe we will correct our mistakes and come back stronger on Sunday, because we will work on ourselves,’’ Okaeme said.
NAN reports both teams are preparing for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled to hold in Canada from Aug. 5 to Aug. 24.(NAN)