5th July, 2022
Some football fans in Abuja have expressed disappointment over the Super Falcon’s poor performance against their South African opponents at the ongoing 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.
South Africa’s Banyana Banyana on Monday stunned champions Super Falcons of Nigeria 2-1 in the Group C opening match at the 2022 WAFCON in Morocco.
The result was similar to that of 2018 WAFCON where Banyana Banyana pipped the Super Falcons 1-0 in their opening game.
The result also meant that the South Africans have now recorded back-to-back wins against Nigeria after they defeated the Super Falcons 4-2 in the Aisha Buhari Cup Invitational in 2021.
A cross-section of football fans who spoke to NAN after the game said that they were very disappointed with the performance of the Falcons, adding that they were hopeful that the team would bounce back from the defeat.
Victor Thompson, a public servant, singled out Asisat Oshoala for criticism, saying that she failed to bring her A-game into the match and let her teammates down at critical moments in the game.
“Oshoala for me was the worst player on the pitch today. She failed to shine as she missed several clear-cut opportunities in front of the goal.
“The Barcelona star indeed was ineffective and had a disappointing game.
“She was the biggest star on the pitch and much was expected of her, but she failed to live up to the hype and expectations of Nigerians.
“I hope she can quickly put this disappointing game behind her and show us what she is capable of in their two remaining group games,” he said.
Rita Akintujoye, a businesswoman, said that the Falcons were technically as well as tactically deficient and didn’t show enough hunger to win the game.
“It was a lackadaisical performance from a team that had a lot of technical and tactical issues. The Falcons had no playmaker as Rita Chikwelu failed to offer any creative spark in the game and rightly deserved to be taken off.
“The team, in my opinion, relied so much on Oshoala who failed to deliver. In fact, the first team choice for me was wrong from the onset.
“Coach Randy Waldrum made a mistake by leaving the likes of Francisca Ordega and Uchenna Kanu on the bench. You could see the impact of both players when they were introduced very late into the game.
“I also thought the experience and commanding presence of goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie were missed in the game.
“Her absence was a big blow for the Super Falcons, who have now lost three of their last four outings to Banyana Banyana,” he said.
Nnadozie who plays for the French club, Paris FC was suspended for the game after receiving yellow cards in different matches in the qualifiers against Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
She was replaced by a less experienced Tochukwu Oluehi who tried her best to marshal a poor defensive line that lacked discipline. She was not convincing either and was lucky not to be sent off.
Femi Oyelade, an entrepreneur said it was a reality check for the nine-time champions, adding that he was hopeful that they would bounce back from the defeat and perform better as they progress in the tournament.
“The Super Falcons suffered a reality check today against a young Banyana Banyana side who have proven to be a thorn in our flesh in recent times.
“They are the defending champions and the team to beat, but they were brought down to earth by the South Africans, who indeed earned a well-deserved win I must say.
“All eyes were on Oshoala, but the Barcelona Femeni star was disappointing, to say the least as she had a couple of chances in the game but could not make it count.
“The team, generally speaking, looked rusty and it’s fair to say their errors in the second half cost them the game.
“I hope they will go back to the drawing board, make the necessary adjustments and bounce back quickly from this defeat just as they did in 2018,” he said.
Amaka Obiekwe, a student, noted that the Falcons’ defense line was poor, adding that only Michelle Alozie and Ashleigh Plumptre showed some flash of brilliance.
“The two center-backs were a mess, failing to cope with the speed and skill of the South Africans. Onome Ebi, the captain was unaware of her surroundings for the first goal and out of position for the second.
“She lacked positional awareness and the speed to match the athletic South Africans.
“Alozie, the American fullback was solid defensively in the first half and looked good going forward. However, she was at fault for South Africa’s second goal as she was caught out of position.
“Plumptre was by far our best defender on the night, in spite of playing in an unfamiliar left-back role.
“She was comfortable and calm with the ball. However, she was beaten too easily for the first goal,” Amaka said.
The Super Falcons will next face debutants Botswana while South Africa takes on Burundi.