Super Falcons’ interim coach Musa Danjuma faces a big task to lead the team to the 2016 Olympic Games after his side drew 1-1 with Equatorial Guinea in Abuja on Saturday.
Halimat Ayinde’s 28th minute opener only proved false hope for the African champions as Nigeria-born Gloria Chinasa Okoro got the equalizer for the visitors in the second half.
The Nigerian girls went into the game without two key players – Asisat Oshoala and Onome Ebi – and were also dealing with the shock death of the team’s media officer Gracious Akujobi on Thursday morning.
It was Danjuma’s first game in charge after the sacking of Edwin Okon, following the team’s poor showing at the Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Having failed to make the home advantage count against their toughest rivals, Danjuma’s team would head to Malabo in a fortnight with much to play for.
“We are not people that give excuses but when you deal with women emotions is not a thing to be written off,” said Danjuma after the game.
“Like I said I am not making excuses here but sincerely speaking if Asisat Oshoala and Onome Ebi had been here we would have won the game. But since the Olympics qualifiers is not in FIFA’s calendar overseas countries are not forced to release their players unless such clubs are willing to do so.
“But we will work very hard before the return leg and I am very sure with God on our side we will beat Equatorial Guinea to pick the Olympics ticket.”
His opposite number Miguel Angel Pozanco, the Argentine coach of the Equatorial Guinea team, vowed to beat Nigeria in Malabo to qualify for the 2016 Olympics Women Football event.
“Playing the African best team was not easy at all. It was a difficult game. Playing a 1-1 score draw is a very good result for us since we would be playing the return leg at home in the front of our fans,” Pozanco said.
“In Malabo our performance would be better than today’s own. But honestly speaking it won’t be easy playing Nigeria in the return leg because they are a powerful football nation in the continent.”
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