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Falcons’ performance against Les Bleues is commendable, says Okon


France’s defender Wendie Renard hits and scores a penalty kick during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group A football match between Nigeria and France, on June 17, 2019, at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, western France. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Former coach of Super Falcons, Edwin Okon has hailed the feat of the female senior national team in their 0-1 loss to the hosts country, France in their Group A clash of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 played at the Roazhon Park, Rennes.

Nigeria lost the encounter through a penalty call by the centre referee through the aid of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after Ngozi Ebere was adjudged to have fouled France Viviane Asseyi in the course of recording a shot at goal. A controversy, however, arose when French Wendy Renard was given a chance to retake the penalty she earlier lost. She thereafter wasted no time by given the host the lead in the resultant second kick.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Okon expressed displeasure over the decision of the referee culminating from the VAR’s call. He described the decision as questionable, saying that it reduced the efforts of the players, who put up a good fight by frustrating the French team until the controversial moment.

“The players tried their best and I want to commend them for their fighting spirit in that game before the penalty retake, which would have crowned their effort. I don’t know if they were briefed by the FIFA before the start of the World Cup on new rules. If not, I don’t see any reason why that penalty should have been taken again,” he said.

Okon, who is currently the head coach of Rivers Angels, said the players did well as a team, except that they were not mobile unlike the French team, which he said caused them a lot of trouble during the game.

“Generally, I think the players tried very well as a team. I cannot single out any department of the Falcons that contributed less. Football is a team work and it will be unfair to start picking the area the team performed better. One thing I noticed was our team was not mobile compared to the French. This counted a lot against us as they piled up pressure until the resultant penalty,” he stated.

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