By Nurudeen Obalola:
Super Falcons coach Edwin Okon has refused to take responsibility for his side’s FIFA Women’s World Cup defeat to the United States of America on Wednesday morning.
Instead, he is pointing the finger at the match officials, led by referee Kateryna Monzul from Ukraine.
The Nigerian girls put up a spirited fight but their physicality meant several yellow cards and a red card for right-back Sarah Nnodim.
But Okon, who appeared to ignore US coach Jill Ellis’ offer of a handshake after the match, refused to give his opponents credit for the 1-0 result.
“It’s been a good one and we thank God for the game,” Okon told the host broadcasters moments after the match, before adding with a heavy dose of sarcasm: “We thank God for the officiating in the competion. In the first and second halves, we thank the referee. That’s all.”
When pushed to explain why his team could not create chances against the US like they did against Sweden in their opening 3-3 draw, Okon retorted tersely: “There was frustration from the officiating.”
Okon faced heavy criticism back home for his tactics in the 2-0 defeat to Australia that left the Falcons needing a victory against powerhouses USA to stand a chance of reaching the knockout rounds for the first time since 1999.
But the Falcons were impressive in spells against the USA, and they kept going even when they were a woman short.