Coach Bala Nikyu on Saturday said fear was the crucial point in his side’s 0-1 loss to Brazil in their opening match at the 2016 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
Nikyu said this at the post-match briefing for the Group C game at Amman in Jordan.
“Because of the name Brazil has in football, I think my players were frightened and didn’t settle to play the way we know they can.
“Against another team, I’m sure they would have relaxed more and played better,” he said.
The coach, however, conceded that the loss was not unusual and the focus now should be on the next match.
“The first match in any competition is always difficult. We have played and lost and I see no point in being too hard on my goalkeeper and defence.
“My focus will be on getting ready and making preparations for our next match,” he said.
The Flamingoes will next take on England on Tuesday in Zarqa.
Luizao, the Brazil coach, saw his side’s victory as a great achievement, even though he believed it was deserved.
“I always had high expectations for this match even though Nigeria are a great team. I trust in my team and we have been working for three years together, improving all the time.
“To win against a team like Nigeria is a great achievement. They attacked us strongly towards the end of the match but my defence handled the high balls very well and my goalkeeper also played well.
“The result makes us pretty proud and we were all very happy in the dressing room there. It will also increase our confidence for the tough matches ahead,” he said.
HOW NIGERIA LOST
Nigeria’s Flamingoes opened their Jordan 2016 campaign in the worst possible fashion with a hard-fought 0-1 loss to Brazil at the King Abudullah II Stadium in Amman.
A brilliant chip by the South Americans’ Micaelly proved the difference between the teams and gives Luizao’s side an early advantage in Group C.
Brazil were the more cohesive and inventive side and, initially at least, simply lacked a cutting edge to complement their fine approach play.
Indeed, in spite of their early dominance, the South Americans had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping them on level terms when the game’s first big chances were created.
Twice within a few seconds midway through the first half, Kemelli was called upon to deny Nigeria.
She first tipped wide a Mary-Ann Ezanagu chance and then leapt to her left to claw out Christy Ucheibe’s effort from the resulting corner kick.
Nonetheless, Brazil remained the better side and it was no more than they deserved when Micaelly gave them a 41st-minute lead.
Nigeria’s goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie initially looked to have averted danger when, with Ana Votira racing through, she charged from her goal to clear at the striker’s feet.
However, Nnadozie’s clearance landed straight at the feet of Brazil’s Micaelly.
But, even with two covering defenders in her way, Micaelly had the skill and composure required to measure an inch-perfect chip over their heads and into the Nigerian net.
Sadly, there was nothing in a disappointing second half to match that moment of magic, with tough tackling more prevalent than skill or invention.
Brazil, though, will simply be happy to have emerged with a win that leaves them well placed in a group that also includes England and Korea DPR.
Both England and North Korea drew 3-3 in the other Group C match to leave Nigeria at the bottom of the group’s table.