Olympic Qualifier: Super Falcons ready to face best in Africa, says Coach

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Super Falcons in walloped their Ethiopian counterparts 4-0 in a second round, second leg encounter at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Tuesday

By Victor Okoye

Super Falcons Coach, Justine Madugu, said his team are battle ready to face the best in Africa and ensure qualification to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in France.

He spoke after Super Falcons on Tuesday in Abuja walloped their Ethiopian counterparts 4-0 in a second round, second leg encounter at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium.

The nine-time African champions will next meet the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in the race after easing past Ethiopia with a 5-0 aggregate win.

Cameroon, on their part, overturned a 2-0 defeat in Kampala to defeat Uganda 3-0 after extra time in Yaounde on Tuesday night.

The Super Falcons have previously failed to qualify for the last three editions of the Olympic games after participating in three previous editions in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Madugu, however, told newsmen that his girls were keen to step up on the pedal in the third round to ensure qualification to the final qualifying round.

He expressed confidence that the team would emerge as one of the top two from Africa out of 25 countries participating in the qualifiers to pick up the final ticket.

“Whoever comes our way we will be ready for them.

“For you to be able to go to the Olympics, you must play against the best teams and you must be prepared for them.

“We take on Cameroon in the penultimate round and have our game plan that will enable us emerge victorious, and qualify for the final round,” he said.

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On the performance of the Super Falcons against Ethiopia, he said the girls were very anxious in the first half which accounted for the numerous goal scoring opportunities lost.

“There was much anxiety in the first half. The girls were anxious to get goals that will calm their nerves and give everybody confidence to get the result that we desire.

“This accounted for why they couldn’t calm down in front of goals and the reason why we lost several goals.

“I had to tell them… calm down, take it easy. When the goal will come it will come. It is not about rushing to get goals, you must stick to the game plan.

“When we lose opportunities, we try as much as possible to recover them and that is exactly what we did in the second half,” he said.

He lamented that putting up a formidable team together for the qualifiers has been difficult, especially because of the international calendar.

He said with the players having to travel most of the time, they usually do not have sufficient time for recovery.

“This affects us and we cannot prevent it.

“So, the little time we have with, we try to push the girls to do their best,” he said.

The two-leg third round qualifier is set to take place between Feb. 9 and 28, 2024.

The 2024 Olympics is billed to take place in Paris, France from July 26 to Aug. 11, 2024. (NAN)

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