Nigeria's Super Falcons were flying high on their recent achievement as the queens of African women's soccer after defeating the new kids on the block as i like to call them,Equatorial Guinea, at the finals of the just ended African Women's Championship,2010, held in South Africa.
And they did it by re-writing the history books you know ?
Nigeria won their seventh AWC title with a woman in charge-Eucheria Uche,an ex-international who is also the first female to have won the title on the continent of Africa. So they test the waters ahead of the 2011 World Cup by engaging the reigning World Champions,Germany in a friendly and my reaction was, " Really ?"
I saw disaster written all over the match-up. Why you may ask ? because there were a catalogue of flaws in the Nigerian team at the African Women's Championship which unfortunately was not exploited by opponents and knowing Germany,they most definitely would have studied Nigeria's game inside out in order to neutralize what ever offence they will present. I thought Nigeria will work on eliminating these flaws before engaging a country like Germany. May be it was too soon.
Don't get me wrong, Nigeria has quality players we all know,but are lacking like most African teams in the technical department. Defensively, they were exploited by their German counterparts with defense splitting passes and off the ball runs, enabled by the Nigerian defense's poor marking which led to them being caught ball watching.
African players are gifted and tend to rely on individual brilliance rather than blending technical and tactical astuteness with individual brilliance and Nigeria lost by a whooping 8-0 margin to a much compact,fluid,fast and technically sound German side. Eucheria Uche has her work cut out as the world cup draws closer. As African Champions whose best outing at the World Cup has been a quater final berth,2011 will be a great opportunity for the Nigerians to make a case for themselves and the continent as real contenders in the world of women's soccer. After all, Nigeria is a world champion at the U-20 level.
In anticipation for a better performance next time,It's my fervent hope and prayer that Nigeria's Super Falcons will leave no stone unturned as they prepare for the World Cup. The onus falls on Eucheria and her team to make Africa proud by presenting a unified front, sound technically and tactically in their quest of placing Africa on the map of women's soccer. It's been too long,African women do play soccer and 2011 is OUR YEAR !
Talk is cheap right ? Well, as Adidas rightfully puts it " Impossible is nothing" Nigeria with the right preparation and support can SHOCK the world. I implore all involved to give the Super Falcons their uttermost support,whether it be financially,spiritually,morally or what have you. They need you and I.