– The Sun News

We are down not out, Falconets coach

Falconets Coach, Peter Dedevbo has remained bullish despite the 6-0 walloping by Japan in Nigeria’s first match at the FIFA U-20 women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

Dedevbo, who acknowledged the superiority of the Japanese side, insisted that the Sunday’s result would not mark the end of the road for Nigeria in the tournament.

He was optimistic that his girls will bounce back to pick maximum points from the remaining two matches in the group stage and charged the players to put behind them, the horror of the first game and focus on the Canada and Spain challenges.

“We are down, but not out and this is the time for us to fight till the end of the competition. It would be foolhardy for us to start feeling sorry for ourselves because it will affect our focus for the remaining games in the tournament.

“I must acknowledge the fact that the Japanese side was good, though I didn’t envisage the goal margin. The outcome means that we will return to the trenches and re-strategize.”

Japan powered to victory through strikes from Mami Ueno and Yuka Momiki, who netted a hat-trick and brace respectively.

The duo’s attacking force resulted in an own goal by Nigeria’s defender, Mary Ologbosere. Yuka Momiki was named the Live Your Goal player of the match.

Meanwhile, Falconets defender, Glory Ogbonna had vowed that the team would fight on and revive its FIFA U-20 FIFA World Cup trophy hopes, as well as redeem Nigeria’s image in Papua New Guinea.

Smarting from the shocking defeat on Sunday, Ogbonna, who plays for Ibom Angels noted that the Japan experience was a wake up call to all the players to gird their loins for the Canada challenge. Fondly called ‘dependable’ by her teammates, the central defender stated that Nigeria’s footballing prowess and pride at the U-20 Women level is at stake, vowing that Falconets would fight like wounded lionesses against Canada on Wednesday.

“Collectively as a team, we have accepted the fact that we started badly against Japan, but it doesn’t mean that we have given up because all hope is not lost. I believe that the reason for Sunday’s defeat was a clarion call for us as a team to wake up to the harsh realities on ground. If we had won or drawn that game, apparently, the whole team would feel that we have arrived.

“Canada is a must-win for us and it is not negotiable. We have learnt our lessons in a bitter and humiliating way. I want to promise all Nigerians that we must redeem our image and march on in this tournament.”

Nigeria will face Canada in her second Group B match on Wednesday, at the Bava Park Stadium in Port Moresby. Both countries are at the bottom of the table with no point.

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