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Falcons will have no reason to fail at France 2019 World Cup, says Mabo


Falcons training at Pinatar Arena, Spain ahead of the friendly against Canada on Monday. Photo/Twitter/NGSuper_Falcons

Former Super Falcons Coach, Ismaila Mabo has told players and officials of the present team they will have no excuse to give if they failed to reach at least the semifinal stage in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Mabo led the Falcons to the quarterfinal at USA ’99 World Cup, a record that is yet to be equaled by any African female team about 20 years after.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Mabo said the coach Thomas Dennerby-led Super Falcons is the best prepared team in history of women football in the country. “This team has enjoyed everything in terms of support from the NFF more than any other team in the past. The NFF has given them grade A friendlies, which I think should take Nigeria to at least the semifinal stage in France.

“I heard the coach saying that he is targeting the quarterfinal records we set at USA ’99. But to me, the team should look beyond that, and target the semifinal spot. It will be so disappointing if they crash out in the group stage going by the level of support they have gotten from the NFF,” Mabo stated.

At the USA ’99, Mabo’s squad, which had the likes of Ann Chiejine, Judith Chime, Yinka Kudaisi, Adanna Nwaneri, Kikelomo Ajayi, Stella Mbachu, Rita Nwadike, Gloria Usieta, Mavis Ogun, Prisca Emeafu, Nkeiru Okosieme, Florence Omagbemi, Florence Iweta, Nkechi Egbe, Patience Avre, Ifeanyi Chiejine and Mercy Akide defeated Korea DPR 2-1 in their first group only to fall 1-7 to the host, USA in their second match despite an early goal by Nkeiru Okosieme in the second minute. They went on to beat Denmark 2-0 to hit the quarterfinal, where they lost 4-3 to Brazil through a golden goal after coming back from 0-3 down to equalize 3-3.

Mabo told The Guardian that a never-say-die spirit, coupled with the cordial relationship on the part of the players gave the USA ’99 squad the quarterfinal ticket.

He added: “Then, the football house under the leadership of Abdulmunini Aminu and Sani Toro as secretary gave the team enough financial boost at the World Cup. We didn’t enjoy the liberty of playing so many quality international friendly matches as the current team is having now. Nobody will listen to their excuses if they failed in France.”

The team had been to tournaments in China and Cyprus before playing two matches in Spain earlier this week. The France 2019 World Cup, which holds from June 7 to July 7, will see Nigeria meeting hosts, France in Group A alongside Korea Republic and Norway.

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