- Omagbemi says players’ nerves almost let them down
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commended the Super Falcons for their hard earned win against South Africa on Tuesday to seal a place in Saturday’s African Women’s Championship final in Cameroon.
Desire Oparanozie settled the match with a long strike in the 54th minute and the feat assured the nine-time champions, Nigeria, another opportunity to win the cup again and this time against host, Cameroon. Nigeria won the last edition two years ago in Namibia.
The President in spite of socio-economic problems facing the country, took time out with his twitter handle and expressed his delight with the ladies’ performances as he look forward to another remarkable outing on Saturday.
“Our Super Falcons have made Nigeria proud again. The entire country looks forward to the #AWCON2016 Final on Saturday,” President Buhari tweeted wednesday.
Meanwhile, Super Falcons Coach, Florence Omagbemi, has revealed that some of her players were overcome by nerves in Tuesday’s semi-final against South Africa at the ongoing 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Omagbemi was the first to admit that her charges did not hit high notes in the contest decided at the Stade Municipal de Limbe and blamed nervousness for the underwhelming showing.
“First of all, I want to give credit to the players again. Our approach in the first half was different from the second.
“We had a game plan but some of the players were carried away by the emotions of the occasion.
“There was some nervousness noticed even among some of the key players of my team.
“I was surprised to see them get overwhelmed by the occasion,” Omagbemi said at the post match press conference.
The Falcons improved after the break and Omagbemi revealed that her team talk worked wonders for the players.
“In the second half, we asked them to try to relax.
“They all wanted to play in the final but to do that, they had to be relaxed.
“In such games, if you try to do too much, you will make mistakes.
“We are an attacking team and did not try to play defensively after we scored.
“The game against South Africa was not was one of our best games but I give credit to the players for winning despite not playing very well,” she added.
Meanwhile, Head coach of South Africa’s Women’s national team, Desiree Ellis has explained that her game plan was to stifle Nigeria’s Super Falcons in the second semi-final.
Ellis saluted the quality of Oparanozie’s strike but hailed her charges for a ‘magnificent display’.
“Congratulations to Nigeria for a hard-earned victory.
“I think our plan worked for most of the time; we stifled Nigeria and it took a moment of madness (to beat us).
“I am not sure whether it was a free kick or not, but what a fantastic strike by Oparanozie.
“We had our chances but did not convert them.
“However, I think all of South Africa can be extremely proud of Banyana Banyana because we fought hard and the game could have gone either way,” Ellis submitted at the post-match press conference.
South Africa will now meet Ghana in the third place game on December 2 at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaoundé.