President Hails Falcons

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President Hails Falcons

Post  nex on Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:20 am

The Nigeria team who will contest Sunday’s final of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup against Germany are proving the talk of their country back home and everyone – right to the very top of society - wants to shower praise on them.

Even the country’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has added his support and thanks, devoting space on his Facebook page to the achievements of coach Ndem Egan and his young team in becoming the first African nation to win through to the final of a FIFA Women's World Cup.

"By this victory the team has inspired an entire nation to believe that the best is yet to come in our football," the President wrote after their semi-final victory over Colombia. "I want to commend the Falconets for a job well done. This is an unprecedented feat in African women's participation in the female World Cup.

"The Falconets have shown the world the many possibilities our great country is capable of. To these great patriots, I say the World Cup trophy is within reach. To all Nigerians, especially our youths, I say that there is nothing you can not achieve when you apply your mind to it. I congratulate all Nigerians on this historic feat and urge you all my friends, brothers, sisters and fellow citizens on facebook to support the Falconets however way you can. Go Falcons, go!"

Nigeria's First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs Patience Jonothan, will head a powerful government delegation who will attend Sunday's showdown while "a special package" is being put together by the country's football federation in appreciation of the team's efforts. Imagine the reception they will receive should the Falconets actually go the final step and beat the host nation in front of a capacity Bielefeld crowd, the vast majority of whom, naturally, will be cheering for a home success. Germany are the leading scorers in the tournament with 18 goals, possess the individual top markswoman in Alexandra Popp, with nine, and are overwhelming favourites to lift their second youth crown.

However Nigeria refuse to be daunted by what will line up in front of them on Sunday afternoon. To the inevitable question of how tough it will be keeping the German attack quiet, Egan replies that it won’t necessarily be so. Yes Germany are strong, but then they haven’t come up against his team before.

We are a good team and we are not feeling we can’t beat Germany. It is going to be an interesting match and it won’t be easy for Gemany.
Ndem Egan, Nigeria coach
"You can’t really say that Germany will be the toughest opponent we have yet faced in this tournament because we don’t know," he said. "We have seen Germany play other teams but they haven’t played Nigeria before. We are a good team and we are not feeling we can’t beat Germany. It is going to be an interesting match and it won’t be easy for Gemany."

The Nigeria team appeared nervous before the start of their semi-final with Colombia as if they were suddenly alive to the pressure on their shoulders. They then had the boost of a second-minute goal through Ebere Orji which ultimately proved enough to win the game and helped settle them down.

It might be in their favour that the overwhelming support will be for the other side in the final. "We will also have to play against the home crowd but that does not distract us because we know very well what we are going to face. It won’t dampen our morale," Egan added.

"We are now at the point where we don’t have any supporters, we are on our own. But with God there is nothing that can’t happen."

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