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Underrate Mali At Your Peril, Okon Warns Falcons

Oladipo Okubanjo

Head Coach of the Nigeria senior women’s soccer team, Edwin Okon, has warned his players not to underrate their Malian counterparts, who they face this weekend in a 2016 Olympic Games qualifier.

Africa n champions, Nigeria’s Super Falcons, had last month had hammered Mali 9-1 on aggregate in their two-legged match to secure a berth at this year’s All Africa Games in Congo. But speaking in an interview, coach Okon says that result cannot be the yardstick to predict the outcome of Saturday’s fixture

. “We cannot predicate the outcome of Saturday’s game on that fact that we beat them 9-1 last month,” he said. “That was last month and this is now and a lot of things could have changed.

“No two games are the same and we must understand that and stop talking about that 9-1. “If we are still talking about that, it means we are taking them for granted and we cannot afford to underestimate our opponents, and I say that to the players all the time.”

Asked if he expects or wants his team to have another high scoring match, Okon said he’s only interested in getting a “reasonable advantage” before heading for the second leg.

“The number of goals isn’t exactly that important as the most important thing is to get a reasonable advantage that will see us through in the second leg, but we cannot underrate them,” said the 2014 FIFA Women’s Under- 20 World Cup silver medal winning coach.

Meanwhile, the management of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) has moved all its Week 2 matches slated to hold on Saturday to Sunday.

This development, according to the League Secretary Isaac Ajisafe, is to enable the teams support the Super Falcons in their Olympic qualifying match against Mali holding at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday.

The League scribe said the team needs the support and prayers of all Nigerians at this point.

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