Nigeria came up short in the U-20 Women’s World Cup Final; here, Samuel Ahmadu examines where things fell apart for the Falconets in Canada.
Nigeria’s remarkable start to the 2014 Fifa U-20 Women’s World Cup was undermined by their capitulation in the final. Here, Goal Nigeria seek the reasons behind the Falconets’ final loss to Germanyin Canada.
No doubt, many Nigerians were delighted with the superlative style in which the Falconets negotiated the preliminary stages of the U-20 Women’s World Cup. However, their failure to see off Germany again invited huge disappointment as many thought this was their best chance to amend the errors of 2010.
Why were the Falconets unable to repeat their successful performances throughout the tournament in the final against Germany?
The Nigerian girls gave their best but slumped to an extra-time winner.
Concerns ahead of the tournament included the federation’s administrative crisis, a lack of grade A friendly games, questionable player ages, poor fitness, and the limited technical and tactical knowledge of coaches.
For Peter Dedevbo and his team there is some consolation; Asisat Oshoala who won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball, was in fantastic form, netting seven goals and picking up three player-of-the-match awards.
Beyond Oshoala, the team’s performance in front of goal was also exceptional—they managed to secure landslide victories, scoring ten goals in two knockout stages.
The negatives of the final performance, however, can’t be ignored—so Goal Nigeria sought the reactions of active women’s football stakeholders to get an expanded view of the Falconets’ inability to overcome Germany.
When questioned, Peter Dedevbo, head coach of the Falconets, without reservation, admitted his wards lost because of their tactical discipline and, as well, bemoaned their poor finishing. For the coach, these were the reasons that cost Nigeria the championship.
“We lost this game due to tactical indiscipline.
“We had enough opportunities to win this match in the first half alone. But while we had chances we didn’t take them, Germany had one chance and took it. That’s the nature of football,” Dedevbo told Goal.
“We had a great opportunity to win a World Cup with the chances we had in the first half, but we threw that chance away. Be that as it may, we did our best to redeem Nigeria’s image,” he admitted.
From a German perspective, coach Maren Meinert opined that their victory against the Falconets in Canada was largely due to her ladies’ ability to find balance between defending and attacking as well as late strength owed to their fitness level.[eap_ad_2]
“One crucial thing was that we played very well defensively as well as offensively, and the whole team worked hard to achieve that. We knew Nigeria were very strong and player a high-tempo game, and will overrun our defence – so we restricted them to only a few shots on goal.” Meinert told Fifa.com.
Concerning tactics, current Flying Eagles assistant manager Nduka Ugbade, who was part of the 2013 Fifa U-17 men’s World Cup-winning Golden Eaglets side, blamed the loss to Germany on the champions’ technical supremacy and highlighted the Falconets’ profligacy in front of goal.
“The Germans were more intelligent and technically better, while our girls are faster and stronger, but in modern football, information is key and that was exactly what our girls lacked.
“I expected them to win but the failed to take their chances even after controlling 90% of possessions in the first half,” Ugbade told Sportinglife.
“If they had scored an early goal during their period of dominance, the Germans could have been put under pressure and left vulnerable to robust counter-attacks from the Falconets,” he noted.
Aminu Maigari has slammed claims that the lingering confusion within the Nigeria football governing body affected the Falconets’ chances of prospering in Canada.
“I don’t really think that the crisis affected the girls. The round leather game does not allow such crisis to distract it. However, on our own, we did everything possible to ensure that the girls concentrate fully with the task at hand,” Maigari told Soccerstar.
“I have always tried to be in constant touch with them. Beyond that, our board members were also there to support them and deliver the message of hope from every Nigerians that we were solidly behind them. But unfortunately, they dashed out hopes and expectations.
“In any case the outing was not a disappointing one because we saw the determination in the girls’ efforts,” he explained.
However, the Pelican Stars’ team manager Ali Ita told Goal that the Falconets were jinxed for the atrocities of the federation after they failed to pay the salaries of coach Adat Egan, who led the country to the 2010 final.
“I know you would be surprised how the Falconets lost out in the finals after they played so well and even had their clear goals disallowed. It won’t had happen if not for the sins of the (outgoing) NFF who failed to pay coach Egan a penny of his salaries after taking the team to the final in 2010,” Ita told Goal.
Things may feel sour right now, but it is important to remember that the ladies did equal their highest-ever achievement in the competition. The title may not have been forthcoming, but Oshoala has ensured that Nigerians have the memories to sustain them until 2016 rolls around. (goal.com)[eap_ad_3]