This Day (Lagos)

19 August 2014

Nigeria: Falconets Coach - I Have Shamed My Critics With S'Final Ticket

Falconets' Head Coach, Peter Dedevbo, has expressed his joy at breaking the jinx of Nigeria crashing out of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup at the quarter final stage.

Nigeria on Sunday night defeated New Zealand 4-1 to book a semi final spot against Korea tomorrow at the ongoing U -20 Women's World Cup in Canada.

"I had been christened a failure, a coach who never goes beyond the quarter finals and many more. My critics say I cannot exceed quarter finals, citing my outings with the Flamingoes (U-17). It has not been easy but I thank God today I have proven them all wrong. That was why at full time I felt down and rolled on the pitch to give thanks to God for taking away this reproach. Today (Sunday, August 17) is a memorable day for me," stressed the Falconets gaffer.

The coach said he was very proud of the achievements of his girls because they played to his instructions. "The idea was to start fast and get a goal as a strategy to demoralise our opponents. That early goal from Asisat (Oshoala) did just that. Before they could regain control another goal came and they (New Zealand players) began to get more confused," recalled Dedevbo.

Speaking on Nigeria's semi final match against Korea, Dedevbo insists he was looking forward to defeat the Koreans to play in the final. "My team has played against the Koreans twice in 2010 and 2012 at the U-17 tournaments in which Nigeria lost, but this time around, it will be a different ball game," he pledged.

Oshoala and Uchechi Sunday grabbed a brace in the defeat of the girls from Down Under. Falconets opened scoring with just 31 seconds into kick off through a header from Oshoala. That goal came from a cross by Ugo Njoku. Oshoala who wears the Number four shirt netted another goal 12minutes later to put scores at 2-0. Both teams struggled to control possession of the game but the Falconets showed their dominance against the Kiwis. The teams went on half time with the Nigerian side leading.

On resumption for the second half, Dedevbo pulled out Courtney Dike, Loveth Ayinla and Chinwendu Ihezuo and replaced them with Uchenna Kanu, Yetunde Adeboyejo and Uchechi Sunday.

Uchechi came from the bench to get a goal for the Falconets six minutes to full time. With scores at 3-0 the New Zealand struggled to get back into the game. Their lone goal came in the 88th minutes through Emma Rolston. A late minute brace from Uchechi put the Falconets at comfortable 4-1 lead. The crowd at the Moncton Stadium cheered the Falconets all along.

Oshoala who won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the match for the second time, praised her team mates for her success. "I must commend my coach for giving me the opportunity to play up front. That gave me the chance to showcase my skill. Today's match is the beginning of our road to victory," she promised.

Oshoala now has three goals, Uchechi two, Courtney Dike one, Loveth Ayinla one and Chinwendu Ihezuo one. Sunday, Sarah Nnodim, Ihezuo and team captain, Patience Okaeme, were all full of joy, seeing the Nigeria scale through to the semi finals.

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