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WAFCON: Waldrum ‘proud’ of Super Falcons, won’t blame referee for defeat to Morocco

Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum has praised his players for their resilience despite losing to Morocco in the semi-final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Rabat last night.

The nine-time African champions were reduced to nine women after red cards were issued to Halimat Ayinde and Rasheedat Ajibade in the second half, but still held on and took the game to extra-time and penalties.

Although the red cards to Ayinde in the 48th minute and Ajibade in the 70th minute were the right decisions for dangerous play, some Nigerians felt the referee was biased and did not punish Morocco for a similar offence.

However, Waldrum refused to comment on the performance of the referee, Maria Rivet from Mauritius.

“We (coaches) can’t comment on officiating; we will get into trouble,” the American said during his post-match press conference.

The Super Falcons dominated the encounter for much of the first half and before Ayinde’s dismissal early in the second half.

Nigeria still took the lead through a Yasmin Mirabet own goal in the 62nd minute but Morocco equalised four minutes later.

Ajibade, who has lit up the tournament with her brilliant performances, was sent off in the 71st minute and the Super Falcons had to hang on from that stage.

“We were in control of the game until after the first red card, then the second red card, I will put it this way,” Waldrum added.

“We wanted to win the game, not just the World Cup ticket. Our substitutions were spot on and we can’t ask for more from the players, they gave their best.

“I am proud of the girls tonight.”

The Super Falcons will face Zambia in the third-place match on Friday, a day before Morocco battle South Africa in the final.

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Naija Times