It all started by being crowned African champions, for a record ninth time in Ghana last December, the Super Falcons thus became only the seventh nation to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This time around Thomas Dennerby and his girls headed to France
About 15 test games were organised for the team pre-world cup, with camps/games held in China, Cyprus, Spain, Ivory Coast and Austria (widely agreed as the best-ever for any Nigerian team going to the Women’s World Cup and even wrote to thank the NFF).
From Reims to Grenoble to Rennes, then back to Grenoble. The Falcons set out for their world cup campaign, lost 3-0 to Norway, inspiring 2-0 win against South Korea, then the VAR drama, penalty to France, Ngozi Ebere sent off, Renard missed the kick, VAR said Nnadozie infringed, penalty retaken then scored by Renard again, encroachment in the area, goal stood and Nigeria eventually lost 1-0 to France in a spirited display from the girls.
Trust Nigerians, you know quite well right?. VAR is a scam, IFAB does not know what they’re doing, Racism at its peak, FIFA favours the host country, FIFA hates Africa; these and many more ran through social media, Nigerians were livid to the extent of abusing the female commentator for the match but that’s not the story really!
The story was the manner in which after 3pts only, the Super Falcons edged through to the last 16 as one of the four best placed teams. 72hrs they had to wait in their hotel rooms, the Argentines helped out, Cameroon almost did us dirty, then the Chileans and Aunty Lara (Lol) missed a late penalty as Nigeria rode on mother luck to advance.
Next was Germany in the second round, forget what they told you, we never stood a chance and rightly so, we lost 3-0 and exited the tournament.
This thought of mine can go down as an unpopular opinion with many but the truth is really bitter, many people expected too much from the girls to the extent in which emotions took over our objectivity about the girls performance at the World Cup.
Yes, it was the first time in 20yrs we’re getting to the last16 but still, the Super Falcons had a below par performance. The display pattern couldn’t be define, the big girls flopped on the world stage, Dennerby panicked and the only difference was the Round of 16 qualification.
The type of energy we channeled towards the France vs Nigeria game should go straight to the development of female football in the country. We need to review how we excel on the African continent, consistently qualify for the World Cup, only to deliver an average performance on the world stage.
We really need to do more as a nation, while female football is evolving, we are here lagging behind. The Nigeria Women Professional League is not encouraging, the organisers aren’t doing enough, the level of play is on the down slide and many more.
We go again, first the All Africa Games, then the Olympic Games next year, sacking Dennerby would be a step in the wrong direction, continuity is needed with him. Let’s see what he has to offer as per bringing in fresh legs to the team and maybe he can be more proactive. Then, we’d be able to judge the Swedish man.
But before then, let’s understand that we’re right behind in women football, retracing our steps will take years, leave patriotism, go back and work out modalities to better our football.