Former Super Falcons coach, Edwin Okon, has tipped the Falconets to bounce back from their 6-0 defeat to Japan in their 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea on Sunday to beat Canada on Wednesday.
Okon, who led the Falconets to a fourth-place finish at the 2012 edition of the competition, told our correspondent that Nigeria lost to a superior side.
“The loss did not come as a shock to me because in football it is either a team win, draw or lose. The Falconets lost to a better side on Sunday and I believe they will bounce back stronger against Canada on Wednesday,” he said.
“The Japanese finished third in 2012 and did not qualify for the 2012 edition. They planned for the future and the result was what we saw on Sunday. It is not too palatable that the Nigerian team, who finished second in 2014, were humiliated by Japan.
“However, I don’t agree with those who say the heat affected the girls. Nigerians are known to adapt quickly to any weather and I think before the tournament began the team said they could cope with the weather. So the weather was not responsible for their loss.”
He added, “The coach (Peter Dedevbo) should work on their finishing and they should also defend very well because the Canadians too will be out for victory. They also lost their first match (5-0) to Spain so the match will not come as easy as they can think of. But if the girls beat Canada, their match against Spain will be another tough one.”
Meanwhile, Dedevbo has said his team will win the first game in the tournament on Wednesday.
The coach, 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.
“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,” he told the Nigeria Football Federation on Monday.
“I must acknowledge the fact that the Japanese side was good, even though I didn’t envisage the goal margin. The outcome means that we will return to the trenches and re-strategise.”