…rates Falcons high as Okobi seeks NFF’s motivation
France coach, Corinne Diacre, is expecting a tough match against the Super Falcons of Nigeria
when the side’s meet in the final group a match of the 2019 FIFA
Women’s World Cup. The French were grouped alongside the reigning African champions, Norway and South Korea at the draw held in Paris on Saturday and despite seeing Le Blues went on the rampage with an 8-0 annihilation of the nine-time AWCON winners in a friendly game at Le Mans in April, Diacre is wary of the threat posed by Thomas Dennerby’s team ahead of their meeting in Rennes on June 17. She told L’Equipe after the draw in Seine Musicale (Boulogne-Billancourt): ”The Nigerians
are champions of Africa, even if we beat them very clearly lately.
Their defeat at home was very salutary for them.” Diacre bored in her mind that Faith Ikidi and Desire Oparanozie were not selected in the starting XI against South Africa as a result of injuries, as many as six players that started the AWCON showpiece played from the very first minute against France. The hosts were the third ranked nation by FIFA heading to the draw and the 44-year-old gaffer, who once played for France, stressed that Les Blues can’t take their opponents for granted.
”Norway finished first in their qualifying group ahead of the Netherlands, European champions. ”South Korea, we know a little less but they have convincing results with draws against Japan and New Zealand recently. There will be nothing easy.” Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the tough group following Saturday’s draw, Super Falcons midfielder, Ngozi Okobi, has psyched up her teammates declaring they can earn a knockout berth from their encounters with France, Norway and South Korea. Okobi, who was key to Nigeria’s winning of the 2018 AWCON which ended recently in Ghana, called for adequate preparation urging the Nigeria Football Federation to do all within its power to support the team.
“The long-awaited draw has been done. The preparation starts now, it’s only a mentally, physically, tactical team full of motivation with all kind of support that will survive this. Super Falcons needs support,” Okobi posted on her Twitter page. Nigeria will begin the tournament against 1995 champions, Norway, on June 8 before facing South Korea on June 12. Their last match comes up on June 17 against hosts France.