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Why  Falcons Must Surpass Previous W’Cup Record

Posted: May 18, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Chibuike Chukwu, 



Super Falcons will be campaigning in the 7th FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, starting June 6 to July 7, 2015. There is no arguing that the team is drawn in a tough group with such heavy weights as the USA, Sweden and Australia.

Nigeria has dominated women’s football on the continent since the African Women’s Championship (AWC) was first staged. Out of the nine times that the AWC has been organized, Falcons has won seven tomes. Its overall record at the AWC is a remarkable 36 wins, five draws and four loses in 45 matches.

The players secured their ticket to Canada by winning the ninth AWC in Namibia in October, winning all five matches played, scoring 16 goals and conceding just three. The team topped its group after comfortable victories against Namibia, Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire, before beating South Africa 2-1 in the semi-finals. In the final, it defeated Cameroon 2-0 to return to the summit of African Women football.

In Africa, the Super Falcons have achieved success playing an all-out attacking style and it is not surprising that the top two scorers from the AWC in Namibia were Nigerian.

But with nine goals between them, Desire Oparanozie (five) and Asisat Oshoala (four) eclipsed the total scored by any other team in Namibia. Although only 20, Oparanozie is experienced, having represented Nigeria at the 2011 World Cup in Germany, the 2010 and 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup.

Super Falcons has yet to replicate its dominance of the game in the continent at the world stage. The best of the Super Falcons came in the 1999 when it reached the quarter -final only to be knocked out by Brazil.

Talking about Nigeria’s opponents in Canada, Sweden finished first in the UEFA Group 4 qualifying, scoring 32 goals and conceding one. Just like the Super Falcons, Sweden has appeared in all previous FIFA Women’s World Cup with it best being its second place finish in 2003.

Sweden strength lies on its coach, Pia Sundgae, who once coached the American team. Sundhage is though a Swedish and highly experienced.

On its own, the United States is the number one ranked team in the world.  The USA officially clinched a spot in this year’s World Cup with a 3-0 semifinal victory against Mexico on October 24 in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. It capped off qualifying with a 6-0 win against Costa Rica in the title game on October 26, led by four goals from Wambach. It is also making its seventh appearance in a FIFA Women’s World Cup and is one of seven countries to appear in all seven editions of the tournament, the others being Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden. The two times winners, has reached the final three times.

Australia finished second in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) women’s cup. It has appeared six times in the Women FIFA WORLD CUP, with its best finish being at the 2007 edition where it placed 7th. The team has won the Oceania Women Championship three times in 1995, 1998 and 2003 (before moving to AFC IN 2006).

Threatening as the records of the United States and others may look, the belief is that the team is capable of holding its own and even surpassing the team’s quarter-final record of 1999.

This belief is premised on the depth of the team with the likes of Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie, Courtney Dike, Perpetua Nkwocha, Evelyn Nwabuoku, Francesca Ordega and some exceptionally skilled local league players.

The players are hungry for success and aim to surpass the feat of their predecessors. As Ordega revealed during a recent interview in Lagos, time has come for Nigeria to shed the toga of under-achievers.

She said the nation’s seeming perpetual failure to replicate its continental form at the world cup goes beyond form to include psychology, which the present set aims to overcome.

Towing similar line, the team’s lethal striker and Liverpool of England player, Oshoala, in an interview with in Lagos, said the present crop of players have only one thing at the back of their mind, which is to either win or at least surpass the quarter-final record of the Super Falcons.

Also, the team’s Head Coach, Edwin Okon, has revealed that there was no room for unfit and less hungry players in the team. In a telephone interview last week, Okon said he and the players have resolved to take Nigeria’s global performance to the next level and pledged to go beyond the quarter-final level achieved previously by the team.

It is heart-warming that the spirit in the camp is growing by the day, but it has to translate same to real action on the field of play.