As the U-20 Women World Cup qualifying series for 2018 hot up, Blueprint Sports Crew caught up with Falconets head Coach, Christopher Danjuma. He shed light on what Nigerians should expect as his team take on Morocco in the return leg of next weekend’s game scheduled for Benin City, Edo state capital.
The feeling in camp ahead of qualifier matches
The feelings has been great because the target was to qualify for the world cup and qualify well, it’s been a great feelings, we did all our best, put all we need to put to, make sure that we make Nigerians proud in the previous matches. So far, we have played three matches. Of course, we won two and drew one.
Challenges at hand
We will not say challenges. We will say every day; we play for improvement to perfect the team for the major tournaments ahead. To also correct world impression, after Morocco, they are other matches to be played, they are three more matches to be played. So we are looking forward to take the match one after match, after this match another match.
Coaching Women as Coach
The coaching job is an exciting one. The ability for you to adopt and give what is needed at every level is what makes it exciting and it is fun, it is great. No level is small, is you being able to give all that is required that matters.
After pulling a draw in Casablanca, return leg expectations
Definitely everybody wants to qualify. So teams will do whatever they want to do as par either intimidating you, making the atmosphere unconducive. Thank God, we’ve been there and the players all have experience in world cup and qualifiers. So it makes it a good one because we will up our game in the return game and make sure we are focused enough to do what is expected of us.
The team and the preparation module
Well kudos to the players, kudos to every staff involved because we know that Nigeria is a great country. Nigeria doesn’t settle for anything less. To be a Nigerian, you don’t talk about time you don’t. You only give your best whenever the opportunity comes, that is the mentally in the camp, it’s the mentally the players carry, because we have players that we are telling that it’s not now. Get yourself ready now in the next four years. It’s now you establish a foundation that will make you relevant even as time goes on. So that is the mind and that is the focus we use to play.
Recycling Players from time to time
It depends on what stage the player started playing under-17. That should be what should be taken into consideration.
You can have players that are talented at their early age, like we have Mbappe who is 18 years old and he is already playing for PSG. So what we don’t look into is that some people have different body build up. You can see a player at 15 and he or she will look so big but it is the nature.
Presently, CAF has come out with a format that there is an age limit to which you cannot Participate from when you will be chosen to start playing. If you are 14years, you can’t participate in under 20 level. For you to participate in under 20 now, whether during qualifiers or world cup year, you must be under 20. The days of recycling are over. It’s is going to be difficult for anybody to play three times. Even two times are rare. There is a format now that doesn’t even allow that. So we are not having that here. W e don’t players that are over-aged with us.
Facing Falconets after coaching Super Falcons
It is a great one. You know, I normally say your employers naturally know what they want and this is our profession. I don’t think it’s a choice in a wrong direction. That will only add value to the person coming. I know definitely they must have seen my pedigree and that I’m going to add value to this level of female football in Nigeria.
The Nigeria experience
If you have seen the last super four that climax last season, you would have known that there’s a lot of development. I think we have gone a step more than we were before, in terms of organization and display of the players. The attitude displayed by players, the professionalism displayed by players. Seeing females in the football now, You will notice that the players are technically sound, tactically displaying all what they have learnt unlike before the girls kick and follow and follow ball.
They are a lot that is quite different. Even those that officiated this year, even the year after, you can go and win an away match in the female league now. We win an away match that we can lose at home, we can draw at home meaning that we are have gone a step further.
Winning the Super four as Nasarawa United coach
Yeah! three years back I kept telling people, check what Nasarawa has done in 2015. We came third then. In 2016, we ended up second and in 2017 we became third. So progressively, we were going but it’s not because of our winning but about our progression. We set our target and we meet it.
Sustaining the tempo
Yes, we have won the Super four. Our next target is to win FA Cup. Next year, we will be going for all the trophies available.