By Harry Awurumibe
The Super Falcons of Nigeria’s 2-0 emphatic away victory over host The Fennecs of Algeria in Blida last week Wednesday with entirely home- based players may have opened a new chapter in the history of women’s football in Nigeria.
Without the armada of Nigeria’s overseas-based professional players plying their trades in European, Asia and American women’s football leagues, Nigeria’s senior women’s football team’s Head Coach Thomas Dennerby still used the locally assembled players to beat the Algerians 2-0 at their backyard.
The Stade Mustapha Tchaker was dead silence on Wednesday, August 28 night after the visiting Nigerian team defeated the host nation courtesy of an own goal (og) by defender, Isma Ouadah in the 15th minute and a long range strike by midfielder, Amarachi Okoronkwo in the 54th minute ensured victory for Nigeria in the first leg tie.
The victorious Falcons have returned to Nigeria ahead of next Tuesday’ssecond leg match billed for Agege stadium in Lagos. The team will from today commence serious training to ensure another win at home to complete the job they started in Algeria.
Coach Dennerby is not expected to make a whole sale change in the line up that beat Algeria at away if some of the five invited professional players arrive Lagos camp for the return leg.
The five invited foreign-based players are ex- African Women’s Footballer of the Year, Asisat Oshoala (Spain); Rasheedat Ajibade (Denmark); Osinachi Ohale, Ngozi Ebere and Sonia Okohia (Sweden).
Except there is great need to make changes due to injuries or card offences, Nigerian fans expect the coach not to change the winning team, the players who featured in Algeria last time out.
The experienced Swedish national who had only a space of three weeks to prepare the home- based team for the two-legged match against Algeria may be surprised of the good job the players did in Blida last week Wednesday.
But without knowing it Dennerby has started the rebuilding of the Super Falcons and if this new set beat Algeria in Lagos on Tuesday then he has succeeded in creating healthy competition in Super Falcons team.
Also he can no longer rely only on all foreign-based players to prosecute any assignment no matter how urgent it may be.
The team which won in Algeria has depth in all departments from the goalkeeper, Toochukwu Oluehi; emerging defender, Glory Ogbonna and midfielder, Amarachi Okoronkwo, they have been with Falcons since Dennerby arrived.
Nigeria’s pedigree in women’s football at least in Africa is not in doubt hence Falcons is still the team to beat no matter who is fielded in a match .
This should tell all that no player is indespensibl in the Super Falcons.