By Ossy Ugwu
The Women AFCON is a Trophy most Nigerians know the Super Falcons to always cart home at the end of many tournaments bar the two times our neighbours, The Equatorial Guineans defeated Our National team in the finals, apart from that the defending Champions have maintained dominance over the rest of Africa.
But seems the dominance is gradually plummeting and hitting a crescendo..
Now, Our biggest threat and rivals to winning the WAFCON are the Bayana Bayana of South Africa. The team defeated the Falcons for the first time ever in 2012 and that signaled the beginning of our Loss to the Southern Africans.
One of the most painful lose to the Bayana Bayana was the Four – two lose at the Aisha Buhari Cup, which was hosted by Nigeria. It was a lose many of us never saw coming.
Fast forward to the ongoing WAFCON in Morocco. The both teams met in a derby or what could termed “a final before the final..”
Once again the Falcons capitulated to the superior firepower of the Bayana Bayana, and lost Two-One in the group opener.
It was a lacklustre performance by the Champions. The Falcons played like nothing was at stake, especially for a team chasing a La DECIMA (Tenth Title)
I am very vexed by the lose and I believe many Football Loving Nigerians are also. But I want to cite five reasons why the team lose the game.
- POOR SELECTION
Rita Chikwelu have nothing to offer the National Team. It was very noticeable last night. The lack of creativity in the middle of the pack speak volumes of the poor technicality of Randy Waldrum. If he cannot notice we don’t have an active Number 10 despite his many Coaching badges, then I am sorry, we are definitely progressing in error.
- OLD LEGS
Again, Chikwelu and Captain Onome Ebi showed their tired legs in the game. The both players were error prone and the number 10 could hardly trap or control any pass towards her direction. Her ball control left so much to be desired.
Except Waldrum becomes wiser tactically, we may continue to wallow in supply of balls to our goal poachers and of course we will pay the price as other teams are itching to take our Crown.
- POOR COHENSION
The crosses from the flanks and even in the middle of the pack is shambolic. You will want to ask yourself if you are really watching the Falcons. A team well known for its flourishing type of football. There was an obvious communication gap. The returnee Goalkeeper, Tochukwu Oluehi was always venting her spleen during free kicks for her players to cover the walls adequately or do their defending well.
- INJURY WORRY
Reigning African Footballer of the Year, Asisat Oshoala suffered a knock during the early stages of the first half. One would have thought the Coach will make a tactical change and bring on a “like for like” in her place to firm up the tardy attack of the team, but Waldrum left the Barcelona Forward on the pitch till She couldn’t take it no more and had to be replaced by old timer Francisca Ordega.
Assisat was a mere Manequin or bluntly put a lame duck on the pitch for more than one hour. It begs the question, what was Waldrum’s reasons to continue Oshoala on the pitch despite the obvious poor form due to injury?
- LIKE WALDRUM, LIKE ROHR
All I can say is when it comes to local based players, the National team Coaches are skeptical of their resourcefulness. Even when Augustine Eguavoen took charge of the Super Eagles on the Interim, despite being the head of the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation and having Coached in the league, He neglected the local players. Am not talking about Cerezo and his flash in pan display that cost us a World Cup ticket today, so am going to stick to the ‘pain of the moment’.
Coach Waldrum selected only two local players. Bayelsa Queens hotshot, Gift Monday was selected as one of the two after her spectacular performance at the season ending Nigeria Women Football League Super 6 Tournament, which her team won and her scintillating performance forced the handlers of the team to hand her a late call up..
If topnotch Coaching acumen had prevailed, one would have thought the Managers would have employed the services of Monday in place of an injured Oshoala. But that was never the case. Nigerians were made to watch Oshoala labour in vain and get demystified against the Bayana Bayana.
As I wind down, I can tell you for free that the Bayana Bayana are not our only problems. Just like there are no minnows in Men’s football, same is applicable in Women’s football. “Iya la Iya anybody can be beaten”. Apologies to Moses Praize of Super Sports.
Though it is too late, at least We all know Waldrum is no solution to our Coaching problems. We have the talents, but the Manager is our biggest problem.
For now, let’s lick our wounds and Hope for the best, but expect the worst in the days ahead.