Revealed: Why Nigeria lost to USA, Jamaica in Summer Series

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

Friends again…Super Falcons players pose for photograph

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

Also, the epic match was just the third-ever USA friendly tie against African countries, with the previous two being against South Africa’s ‘Banyana Banyana’ even as the three games ended in defeat for the African teams.
Regrettably, all the six encounters between USA and  Nigeria; four in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final and one each in the Olympics in Sydney  2000 and friendly in Austin on June 16, 2021), have equally ended in defeat.
Sportsrevelation 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.

Not a Laughing Matter…Super Falcons Head Coach, Randy Waldrum had troubles raising a team for Summer Series in Texas

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

Both nations met the second time in Sydney 2000 Olympics and Nigeria under veteran coach, Ismaila Mabo lost 3-1 to USA at Melbourne  Stadium, Australia with goalpoacher Perpetua Nkwocha getting the only goal from the penalty spot.
The Americans and  Africans met one more time in 2003 and Nigeria under Coach Samuel Okpodu lost 5-0 to USA at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia  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.

Pioneers All…The Pioneer squad of Super Falcons who lost to Team USA 7-1in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup final in USA.

For this reason, ardent followers of the Super Falcons  had high hope that the June 16 friendly tie in Texas would be an  opportunity for the reigning African champions to defeat or pick up a draw against the Americans, at least for once.

Infact, many Nigerians expected the Super Falcons to beat Team USA which laboured to a 1-0 win over Portugal in their first game of the Summer Series.
Besides, Nigerians believe that with the employment of American-born coach, Randy Waldrum the fortunes of the team will improve tremendously.
Nigerian fans’ confidence grew after Waldrum had early this year took Falcons to Turkey for the annual Antalya Soccer Tournament where his team defeated CSKA Moscow FC and Uzbekistan women’s national team by lone goal  each while they walloped hapless Equitorial Guinea 9-0 in their last game in the competition.

Four-time World Champions,Team USA has been an albatross for Nigeria’s Super Falcons. They have defeated Nigeria six times in six meetings.

But Nigerians high expectations of the Falcons and their coach disappeared like early morning dews in Texas as Nigeria ended the Summer Series without a win. She lost 1-0 to lowly rated Jamaica,  forced Portugal to 3-3 draw in the second game before losing two nil to USA in the last match.

The scoreline would have been higher had the American ladies not been too wasteful on the day while the Nigerians hardly troubled the star-studded Team USA.
However, many Super Falcons’ fans at home and abroad who watched the three matches on television or online
 believe that Waldrum’s team gave a good account of themselves following Nigeria’s chaotic preparation for the Summer Series.
While the other three countries that participated in the competition, USA, Portugal and Jamaica had adequate preparations and full compliments of the invited players, it was not the same for Nigeria.
The African champions’ participation was in jeopardy in the days leading to the start of the tournament as half dozen of players invited by Waldrum “chickened out” for many reasons including injuries and logistics challenges.
Amongst the absentees are safe-hands, Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC); veteran defender, Osinachi Ohale; experienced midfielders, Halimat Ayinde and Ngozi Okobi-Okoghene and forward, Uchenna Kanu.
With non- availability of his key invitees and delay in the arrival of Europe-based professionals and the 10 home-based players to Houston camp due to visa problems, Waldrum pressed the panic botton and opened the gate for diaspora players.
The American who feared he will not be able to raise a team took a noble
option which was to scavenge for willing foreign-based players with Nigerian origin especially those  resident in the United States to join the camp.
At the end, he successfully raised a team by handing late invitation to  seven players born  abroad including two from Switzerland and Finland. They are Onyinyechi Salome Zogg and Roosa Ariyo.

New Kid on the Block. ..Michelle Alozie was the shinning light in the dark atmosphere in the just concluded Summer Series in USA.

But the most rewarding invitees are the African-Americans, Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash FC);  Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC); Ijeoma Esther  Okoronkwo (Lamar State University) and Nicole Payne (West Virginia University) as well as Yewande Balogun, (former Maryland Terrapin goalkeeper).

With six of the diaspora players testing actions at some stages of the competition except goalkeeper Balogun, Waldrum now has his job well cut out for him as he will be spoilt for choice of players to invite for the forthcoming crucial African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers against Ghana.
Despite losing two games and drawing one in the Summer Series, Waldrum has also succeeded in giving 10-based players the exposure of a life-time as the Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) professional players can now  boast of robbing shoulders with American superstars like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Sam Mewis and goalie Alyssa Nahear among others.
Meanwhile,  Waldrum failed the litmus test on June 16 in Austin as  Nigeria again fell to the superior fire power of USA inspite the tactical prowess and technical skills
of the American gaffer who joined the list of Super Falcons coaches who could not get a win or draw against Team USA.

Full Time…The scoreboard says it all as Nigeria lost 1-0 to hapless Jamaica. It was not good enough for 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 nor drew against Team USA.

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