4-Nation Tourney: Nigeria targets first win over USA in six meetings

By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women’s Football Journalist

Coming to America…Super Falcons will try to beat Team USA for the first ever on June 16 in Austin, Texas during the Summer Series invitational tournament.

Super Falcons epic match against United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) on June 16 at the brand new Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas will mark the first time the USA has ever faced Nigeria outside of a FIFA Women’s World Cup final and Olympic Games.

Also, the much anticipated encounter will be just the third-ever USA friendly tie against an African country, with the previous two coming against South Africa’s ‘Banyana Banyana’.
Of the USA’s five previous meetings with Nigeria, four came in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and one in the Olympics in Sydney  2000, just as USA has faced Nigeria in Group Stage in three consecutive FIFA Women’s  World Cup final– 1999, 2003, 2007 – and also in 2015.
PromptNews reports that both countries met first in FIFA Women’s World Cup tie on June 24, 1999 at Soldier Field Stadium, Chicago during the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final.

Golden Generation. ..Super Falcons 1998/99 Squad that won the 1st Africa Women’s Championship (AWC) and finished 7th in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999 to qualify for Sydney 2000 Olympics. But lost to Team USA in both 1999 and 2000.

It was an embarrassing 7-1 scoreline as a 2nd minute late Ifeanyi Chiejine own goal was cancelled out by midfielder, Nkiru Okosieme in the 3rd minute but that goal angered Mia Hamm led USA to go goals crazy afterwards to score six more goals against goalkeeper Ann Agumanu-Chiejine.

Also, Nigeria and  USA met the second time in Sydney 2000 Olympics and Nigeria under veteran coach, Ismaila Mabo lost 1-3 to USA at Melbourne Stadium, Australia.
The two nations met one more time in 2003 and Nigeria under Coach Samuel Okpodu lost again just as Super Falcons lost
on June 16, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada  where USA won 1-0 by a late goal from superstar, Abby Wambach to lead Group D.

4-time World Champions, United States of America USA has always defeated Nigeria. Can they do it again in Texas.

For this reason, the  Nigerian team presently coached by long-time American College coach, Randy Waldrum, who is currently the Head Coach at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a tough task to reverse the trend of losses to the Americans in Texas.

Luckily, Waldrum who was also the Head Coach for the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer Leaque (NWSL), USA Pro League,  from 2014-2017 has had an experience of coaching a national team with the Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Team from 2014-2016.

New Sheriff in Town…Coach Randy Waldrum giving pep talks to Super Falcons in February in Antalya, Turkey. Will he be the first Nigerian team coach to beat Team USA.

Waldrum also led the University of Notre Dame to two NCAA titles during his stint in South Bend, Indiana from 1999-2013.

The  USA versus Nigeria match on  June 16 in Austin will be a litmus test for Waldrum’s tactical prowess and technical skills
just as Nigeria’s victory over USA will confirm the American as the best coach of the Super Falcons.
No fewer than 13 former head coaches of Super Falcons, especially  the four coaches who were fortunate  to clash with Team USA in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final and Olympics, lost their matches.
They are Coaches Mabo, USA 1999 and Sydney 2000; Okpodu, USA 2003; late Joseph Ladipo aka Jossy Lad, China 2007 and Edwin Okon, Canada 2015. None won a match against USA.

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