Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Falconets Coach, Okon Praises Wards in Defeat

Japan — As the saying goes, all is well that ends well. For the national U-20 team, Falconets, having fought so hard from the beginning of the FIFA U-20 World Cup but ended fourth-best in the world by losing to the host nation, Japan 1-2 in the third place match in Toyko, they could be said to have done well.

Yoko Tanaka and Asuka Nishikawa provided the goals that gave Japan victory while Desire Oparanozie got Falconets'consolation goal.

Coach Edwin Okon, who was dumbfounded at his side's loss blamed hard luck as he praised his girls for their doggedness especially having come this far as fourth-best.

"It is a great match but I think luck was not on my side but all the same the host did well as well. But after this tournament we would go back home and start all over again especially for the next edition," he said in a post match conference.

He added that, "I don't think the Japanese are more motivated than us, for me my girls were more motivated only that luck was not on our side. In our defence focus was not 100 per cent but it is ok, it can also happen to the greatest team in the world. When you lose focus, it becomes a problem. But then, the experience has been so good, I am very happy especially for coming out fourth.

Like I said earlier, our experience in the tournament was a good one. We thank the organizers of the competition, FIFA for their encouragement of women's football in the world."

However, coach of the Japanese side, Hiroshi Yoshida commended the Falconets for their hard fight and determination in the competition.

"Without mincing words, the Nigerian team were the best all through the competition, they were very physical, fast and determined. But I guess we were lucky against them alongside playing at home. But any day the Nigerian team is the best." he said.

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