Changing the playing philosophy of the Nigeria women’s national soccer team few weeks to their clash with Equatorial Guinea was the greatest undoing of the coaching crew, a former national team coach Rolandson Odeh has said. The Falcons on Saturday played a 1-1 draw against the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea in the first leg of their Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier in Abuja.
Nigeria forward, Halimatu Ayinde’s match opener in the 25th minute was cancelled in the 65th minute by the Nigerian-born Equatorial Guinean striker, Gloria Chinasa Okoro to end the game at one goal apiece. Odeh, who has described the result as huge upset, said it was a misstep for the head coach, Christopher Danjuma, to alter the World Cup squad given the shortest time to prepare for the Olympic clash against Equatorial Guinea.
He said: “I think it was too early and risky to bring in new philosophy Johanwhen he has few days to prepare for the Olympic qualifier against Equatorial Guinea.
“Ideally, he should have stuck with the team that went to the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Bringing in about six new players to the team proved not really a good one given the result before us right now. “The 1-1 draw is a major setback to our qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, I do not know how we will wriggle ourselves out of the trap.”
Odeh, who agreed all is not lost yet, said the Falcons will now have to work harder to get a favourable result in the second leg, which comes up in a forthnight in bata. “If the Equatorial Guineans could come here and held us to a 1-1 draw nothing stops us from going there to stun them right there at their backyard. “However, I will still advice the coach to stick with the World Cup team in the second leg clash perhaps try to get back the likes of Asisat Oshoala, Onome Ebi, among others as it looks 50/50 chances,” he said.