Kazeem Busari


Super Falcons coach, Edwin Okon, and his players believe Nigeria could have beaten Sweden in their opening Group D game on Monday at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.Edwin-Okon

The Europeans, pre-match favourites, were two goals up in the first half, the Nigerian ladies fought back to eventually end the game 3-3 at the Winnipeg Stadium.

Sweden coach, Pia Sundhage, lamented the draw as she admitted after the match that the African champions had forced them to change their game plan.

But Okon said it was the half-time pep talk with the players that instilled confidence in them to fight back in the second half.
“I told them that it was not over until it was over. It’s unfortunate that we conceded those cheap goals in the first half,” Okon said.

“We’re not underrating any team because there are no pushovers in this tournament. But on every match day it is what happens on the pitch that would decide the game.

“We are done with Sweden match; my girls are fit and ready for every game.”

Striker Ngozi Okobi, who was voted as player of the match, believe Nigeria could have inflicted more injuries on the Swedes but for the mistakes from the Super Falcons.

“We went into the game with the aim and determination to beat Sweden. It was not as if they played better than us, they were just lucky not to lose the game, they got their goals due to the costly mistakes we made,” Okobi said.

The Delta Queens forward scored the first goal and created an assist for Francisca Ordega for the third goal.

Fellow striker, Desire Oparanozie, whose 20th minute own goal gave the Swedes the lead, was glad when the game ended with their honours intact.

“This draw feels like a win,” Oparanozie told FIFA.com after the match.

“The fans’ support did help. It motivated us a whole lot. It was a good thing knowing that the crowd was behind us. They wanted to see us score; they wanted to see us do more. That really made us push harder and give our all.”

Clearly pleased with the result, Oparanozie directed her focus to Nigeria’s next challenge: a meeting with Australia on Friday. “After today, we are ready to take on any team,” Oparanozie said confidently when asked about how she would prepare for the next game. “We are not afraid to face anyone. We are ready.”

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