Super Falcons goalkeeper, Alaba Jonathan speaks about the joy of lifting the Women's Africa Cup of Nations in this exclusive interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU.
Congratulations Jonathan on your team's success at the Women's Africa Cup of Nations…
Yeah, thank you so much. We want to thank God for making it possible for us to successfully defend our title. It was really tough out there, but we were determined to make the nation and ourselves proud.
How would describe your experience at the AWCON in Cameroon?
It's a wonderful experience for me, one that I cannot describe. I started out with the U-20 side (Falconets) in 2010 and my career has progressed well ever since.
The women's game in Africa has developed so much and to compete against some of the best players in the continent is something one can be proud of.
I like the experience and I can't wait to play in the next edition of the competition in Ghana.
Not many people gave you ladies the chance to successfully defend the title in Cameroon, especially after your failure to qualify for the Olympics in Rio. How did that motivated you and your colleagues?
I must say we went to Cameroon with the determination to prove a lot of people wrong – that we are still the best side in the continent.
Fine, it's obvious that other countries like South Africa, Ghana and Cameroon have developed so well too, but we are still the best.
I don't want to talk about the challenges, but you know what the never say die Nigerian spirit can do. Even in the midst of all the challenges, you could see it in us that we were determined to win the title once again and thank God we achieved our number one objective at the end of the day.
How much influence does coach Florence Omagbemi had on the team?
She is someone you have to respect having done so well as a player. I mean her antecedents and achievements in the game cannot be brushed aside. We all respect her so much and hope to one day surpass her achievement at both national team and club level.
You played five games at the AWCON. Which would admit was the toughest?
It's really difficult to pick one as the toughest, but our games against Ghana, South Africa and Cameroon were really tough. The three countries have quality players in their squad and made things difficult for us.
The final game against Cameroon was a tough one for you ladies, in view of the atmosphere. How were you able to cope against such huge home crowd rooting for Cameroon?
Everything comes with experience and determination. This team has a lot of experience and aside that, we have coaches (Florence Omagbemi, Ann Chiejine and Perpetual Nkwocha) who played the game to the highest level and they really pysched us up for the challenges ahead.
There were rumours of planned protest by the team in Cameroon over unpaid allowances and bonuses, can you shed more light on that?
I don't want to talk about that for now. I have no comment about that.