Super Falcons defender, Onome Ebi is relishing the Nigerian ladies' trophy -success at the 2016 Women's Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon – her third AWCON title. In this exclusive interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD, Ebi reveals her ambition to go further and win her fourth AWCON before international retirement. She also reveals the behind the scenes activities of the team that acted in tandem and ensured they successfully defended their title. Excerpts…
Onome, It must be fascinating to you joining the league of Nigerian female footballers who have won three Women's Africa Cup of Nations title…
No doubt, it is and I'm happy that we made everyone proud despite the challenges we faced in Cameroon. Winning three of the four tournaments I've featured in is special to me and I will work harder to join the league of players to have won four times before retirement.
What were those challenges the team faced in Cameroon?
It was tough, but we surmounted all, so I don't want to delve into that now. We are happy we won so all that are in the past.
Personally, what does this 2016 AWCON title success mean to you?
It means a lot. Playing a new partner and not many believed the partnership will thrive but here we are as champions of Africa.
Let's talk about the games in Limbe Cameroon where the Super Falcons began on a ruthless note hitting Mali for six, drawing rivals Ghana 1-1 before sealing the final group win with a 4-0 bashing of Kenya. Can you talk us through these games?
We started the tournament the way we wanted it, and we took our chances when they came and won our opening game. The second game was difficult because of the rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria, and the fact that they had played second fiddle to the Super Falcons in the past.
Did coach Florence Omagbemi prepare specially for the game against Ghana?
It was only normal for her to remind us why we were better than them. She loves her team dominating play. We tried our best to carry out her tactical plan.
The draw was a fair result and that really spurred us going into the final game against Kenya which we won.
The semi-final game against the Banyana Banyana of South Africa was a grudge game for you because you were part of that squad that lost 1-0 in 2012. How did you approach that game?
Like every other game, we prepared well and we were fortunate to get a goal in a tough game where both teams were cautious, which saw few shots on goal. It was a technical game against a fast paced side. Then again, we had a chance and we took it. Most of the teams we faced were contented in stopping us from playing forgetting that individually we could still hurt them which the likes of Desire Oparanoize and Asisat Oshoala did for the team.
The final against Host country Cameroon, no doubt, was difficult. Did you at any point doubt your chances of winning the title ?
You know this popular saying "when the going gets tough, the tough gets going We curtailed the Cameroonians and tried to exploit their weakness which was the right side of their defence. That was where the goal came from.
How much of an impact did Florence Omagbeni make in this team?
As an ex player, she knows how well to pass details across, and throughout the tournament, she was spot on. It was more of being cautious and going for the kill when the chances come.
Aside being African champion, you also won the Women title with your Belarusian side, Minsk…
2016 was a fulfilling year for me and I hope for more in the new year, 2017.
Thank you for your time Onome, and all the best.
You're welcome. Thank you.