Thomas Dennerby has praised Nigeria after they defeated hosts Cote d’Ivoire 5-4 on penalties to clinch the 2019 WAFU Women’s Cup title.
Uchenna Kanu’s 94th-minute strike cancelled out Ange Koko N’Guessan’s brilliant freekick to drag the 1-1 tie into a penalty shootout, where the Super Falcons eventually won it.
And the Swede, who led the African queens to a second title haul in six months, attributed the success to his team’s unyielding spirit against the hosts in Abidjan.
“Going into the game, we planned to try to win the ball back, use space between the attack and the wing-backs,” Dennerby told Goal.
“We saw that they [Cote d’Ivoire] were not doing enough defensively for the wingers to come back. So, there will be space to go through.
“But during the game, they worked harder on the wing and shut down space a little bit more and denied us the chance to penetrate them deeply.
“We resorted to long balls to get behind the defenders with Chiamaka [Nnadozie] helping well with her long kicks to get in touch with the attack.
“We played well in the midfield and also managed well defensively although honestly, I think we didn’t create many chances and had few half-chances to score from before the goal eventually came.
“They got a beautiful goal from the freekick. But at half time, we promised ourselves to fight until the end. They never gave up. I’m proud of the girls.
“Overall, I think our performance over the five games was fantastic. I think that we had the best strategy defensively and offensively.
“We did not let in any goal from open play except two from set pieces – a corner and free kick. I think the best team won the tournament.”
The 59-year-old tactician will turn his attention to next month’s Fifa Women’s World Cup as they resume their final preparations in Austria on Tuesday.