By Pat Muo
Nigeria’s female soccer team, the Super Falcons, disappointed the entire nation in Canada when she failed to win a game in her group at the on-going FIFA female world cup tournament in Canada.
With a deceptive 3-3 opening game against Sweden the Falcons slumped to a 2-0 defeat in their second game bringing unbridled negation to Nigeria’s high profile image in global female football.
A goal in each half by Austraia’s Myah Simon was what Australia required to reduce the Super Falcons to mere toddlers in the game and it was a huge surprise to watch a previously enterprising Nigerian attack of Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie, Chukwunonye Okere and Dike run around the pitch aimlessly.
The major implication of this loss is obvious. Nigeria will certainly not qualify for the knock-out stage. She has encountered all the foes in her group except the United States of America. The USA is not just a highly respected female football-playing nation. She sits on top of the rest in this group in which the Super Falcons are also contesting in. She has beaten the other countries in the group except Nigeria.
The irony of the Super Falcons’ poor exploits in Canada is that both the technical staff and players are philosophical about the outcome of the team’s matches. After their 0-2 loss to Australia for instance, head coach, Edwin Okon described the result as “one of those things in football”
“That is football,” he told BBC sports. “You never know until it is over. It’s okay. Our chances are not all lost. The USA match is still there.”
Okon sounded funny and completely foreign to football. For all there is in this competition for Nigeria, the country has lost it all. She did with that fall in the hands of Australia. And that was expected. In the build – up to this tournament, AMEN SuperNews Sports warned the Nigeria Football Federation that the Super Falcons were likely to return from Canada empty-handed following the obvious lateness in opening camp to prepare the women for Canada 2015. At the time that warning was made, the competition was only four months away.
Australia, the country which eventually crashed Nigeria’s dream of advancing in this tournament, had been in camp for upwards of 12 calendar months! The USA, which led the group, had crammed their female team into camp much earlier with the players participating in international friend lies frequently.
The absence of cohesion, adequate playing understanding, lack of physical fitness and the desired thrust upfront, all emanated from Kangaroo camping. The crash programme agenda of activities in the Super Falcons’ camp were all pointers to the short period earmarked for camping. The consequence was the embarrassing results Nigeria earned in matches played by the Falcons in Canada.