Deborah Abiodun returned to the starting line-up for the Super Falcons in their 5-0 win against Cape Verde at the National Stadium in Abuja.
Stand-in Super Falcons coach, Justin Magudu, has heaped praise on Rivers Angel defensive midfielder, Deborah Abiodun after a stand-out performance in the team’s 5-0 win over Cape Verde yesterday, Soccernet.ng reports.
Abiodun, 20, featured for Nigeria against Canada at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup but was given her marching orders with a minute left on the clock, meaning she didn’t feature in the tournament after the opening group game.
Now back in the Super Falcons team, the defensive midfielder showed no signs of weakness in yesterday’s win over Cape Verde, drawing praise from her coach.
The stand-in coach mentioned that although Nigeria made it through to the knock-out stage, Deborah’s absence was felt.
“Even at the World Cup, we really missed Abiodun when she was given that red card because she was an upcoming player, full of energy and we knew what she could bring to the team. Her absence in the subsequent matches were evident,” the coach mentioned in his post-match conference yesterday evening.
I loved this part of the press conference last when Coach Justin Justin Madugu showered immense praises on Abiodun Deborah and Esther Okoronkwo.
He says that having watched her yesterday you just know ‘She’s not a player to be toyed with’ pic.twitter.com/uwHWFPCEY2
— Latifat Adebayo-Ohio (@Phatill) December 1, 2023
The coach added that whilst other players deputized in Abiodun’s absence, every player is different, and he gave words of encouragement to the Rivers Angels midfielder, highlighting how she can become a better player.
“You can see from what she did today and her performance that she is not a player to be toyed with. You have to ensure that you keep encouraging her not to rest on her oars, but also to work harder to become a much better player than she is today,” the coach added.
The 5-0 win over Cape Verde yesterday has put the Super Falcons in pole position to progress, despite having the return leg to play in Praia.