Vittsjo FC of Sweden and Super Falcons defender Osinachi Ohale says the team has learnt lessons from the opening day defeat to South Africa and that they’ll “put things in order” so as to “make sure we deliver tomorrow” when they play Zambia at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Match Day two of the ongoing 2018 African Women Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Ohale who turns 27 on the same day as the game against the Zambians, also called on supporters to “keep believing in us” when she addressed the press at the pre-match conference held ahead of the game at Cape Coast Sports Stadium.
The defender who described Sunday’s loss to South Africa as “difficult”, said that the Falcons had “learnt a lot from the [defeat to South Africa] and we are working very hard to make sure that we put things in order and then correct ourselves in our subsequent games”.
The defeat to South Africa marked the first time ever that eight-time champions Nigeria would lose an opening game at the AWCON and with Zambia having decimated two-time Continental Champions Equatorial Guinea five nil, the Falcons are staring at the unthinkable but very real prospect of an ignominious group stage exit if they lose to the Shepolopolo on Wednesday, 21 November.
Having been part of the squad that won the last two AWCON championships in 2014 and 2016 without losing a game, Ohale appreciates more than most the significance of Wednesday’s clash and the defender says the Falcons “are not going to disappoint” and “will deliver tomorrow”.
“Of course we know tomorrow’s game is a crucial one,” the Sweden based defender said.
“We are also prepared as we’ve seen our last game and we have made some corrections and hopefully we are going to put everything we did in practice into tomorrow’s game and for our supporters and people who so much believe in us we urge them to keep believing in us because we are not going to disappoint them we have never done it before they should keep believing in us and we will deliver tomorrow.”
Zambia had never won a match at the AWCON in two previous appearances in 1995 and 2014 until the victory over Equatorial Guinea in their opening game on Sunday 18 November and with the 2018 AWCON also serving as qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup, Shepolopolo would not lack motivation as they bid for a first ever World Cup berth.
The Falcons, on the other hand, are the only African team to have qualified for all editions of the World Cup since 1991 and perhaps having had phenomenal success on the continent for such a long time, complacency and a lack of motivation – however, subconsciously – have started creeping into the team. Ohale, however, maintains that the Falcons are as motivated as ever to secure an eighth World Cup qualification.
“We are all motivated,” she says, “this is our career, no one will say ‘oh because I’ve been in World Cup for one hundred times and I’ve won for one hundred times, I’m not going to give in my best’.”
“We are all motivated because we know it is our career it is something we choose to do so we are not going to go there and say because of something or whatever we cannot put in our best so we always put in our best.”
The defender who was outstanding in the opening game defeat to South Africa would hope to celebrate her 27th birthday with a victory over Shepolopolo of Zambia on Wednesday, 21 November at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.