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African Games triumph proves Nigeria has a lot of talent - Danjuma

2:20 AM GMT+8 31/08/2019
Falconets celebrate African Games
Three late penalty saves ensured the Falconets claimed glory and their coach believes his squad is better than that of their foes

Nigeria U20 women's head coach Christopher Danjuma believes his side's improved mentality gave them the edge over Cameroon in Thursday's African Games final.

After a goalless 120 minutes, the Falconets missed twice from the spot but bounced back to win 3-2 over the Central Africans thanks to three superb saves from Chaimaka Nnadozie.

The triumph over Charles Kamdem's side saw the West Africans win the event for the first time in 12 years and a third title overall.

And the Nasarawa Amazons gaffer, who failed to reach the final four years ago in Congo-Brazzaville, is delighted over his side's achievement.

"It makes me feel awesomely great to be a jinx breaker," Danjuma told Goal.
 
"Nigeria has not been in the final for the past 12 years and for me and my team, it was a great feeling we reclaimed the title.

"Thank God for the Nigeria Women's Premier League, when you play in the NWPL, there is no amount of pressure that you see outside at this level that you won't be able to cope with.

"I was just calm and not moved by what was happening to keep my players fully concentrated. I knew nothing was over until it's over because I had a group of players that wanted to write their name in gold.

"Even after we missed two penalties, I was not down in the spirit as I believed God was behind us and he proved himself in the end."

The Falconets missed at least seven key players from the 2018 U20 Women's World Cup, including Chidinma Okeke, who is on the brink of signing for Spanish side Madrid.

Having won the African Games with 12 fresh players, Danjuma attributed the success to the huge talent in the country's domestic league.

"The players' performance here showed that we have a lot of talent and all we need is patience to harness them and focus our attention on developing players for the senior team," he continued.

"Out of the players that played the Fifa U20 Women's World Cup in France last year, about seven were not here and they could still put up this feat. I think that is really encouraging.

"We were able to stand their physicality because the first time we played them, it was a bullying and physical game. So, we went to work on our mentality and our physical aspect of the game.

"It really worked out for us as we had many chances in the game. We will keep working to get better for future competitions."