–Falcons coach reveals Mali massacre formula
Super Falcons head coach, Edwin Okon has revealed that the injection of the trio of foreign based strikers, Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie and Francisca Ordega was the joker he used to humiliate Mali in the All Africa Games final qualifying game in Abuja.
Okon also disclosed that having studied his opponents well after the first leg match in Bamako also played a key role in the huge scoreline recorded by his team over the West African foes.
The African champions edged Mali 8-0 in Friday’s final round reverse clash at the Abuja National Stadium to qualify for the quadrennial multiple sports showpiece on 9-1 aggregate.
“In the first place, I must say we did not have adequate information or knowledge about them going into the first leg match and that contributed to the 1-1 draw in Bamako,” informs Okon.
“The injection of Francisca Ordega, Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala into the team coupled with a better understanding of the Malians was the magic that saw us overwhelm them for a place in the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.
“We know them inside out now unlike the first fixture clash in Bamako which resulted in the 1-1 draw as well as fatigue on the players due to hectic trip to Bamako.
“The fear and tension of the unknown soldiers were completely absent in the reverse fixture clash and the players kept strictly to training instructions.
“These factors helped us immensely to upstage the Malians for the All Africa Games qualification ticket,” said the former Falconets head coach to supersport.com.
Okon said the next stage is to prepare the side adequately for the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifying match against the Malian opposite in May.
“Olympics is another ball game entirely different from the All Africa Games qualifiers even though it involves same side.
“We won’t relax or sleep until we pick the Olympic Games ticket ahead of the Malians. We won’t even remember the fact that we defeated 9-1 on aggregate for the AAG ticket when we confront them for the Olympics ticket.
“We’ll work hard to ensure the AAG victory does not enter into the heads of the players.
We’ve crossed the first hurdle there is the equally the important second hurdle to cross which is the Olympics.
“I’ll give the players Saturday and Sunday to rest while we hit the ground on Monday to commence preparations for the two-legged Olympics qualifying match.
“I’m quite happy that the trio of Oparanozie, Ordega and Oshoala will be available for the Olympics clash against Mali.
“We’ve secured assurance from their respective clubs to make the available for the clash more so as it falls within the Fifa free calendar,” said the Rivers Angels head coach.
Okon said his dearest desire is to leave a lasting legacy by the time he will be quitting the national side.
“I want to leave an enduring legacy that the next coaches will build upon by the time I won’t be available.
“That’s why I don’t want to involve myself in the practice of recycling of players rather discover and nurture young talents that will add value to the side in many years to come,” said Okon.
Falcons are expected to host Mali in Abuja on May 09 for the first fixture of 2016 Rio Olympics qualifier while the reverse fixture holds in Bamako in fortnight. The winners of the two-legged encounter will qualify for the Olympics in Rio.