By Harry Awurumibe, Editor-in-Chief /Africa’s No.1 Women Football Journalist
Dethroned African Champions. ..Super Falcons
For Super Falcons, losing has become a culture as the team was condemned to its second defeat in three days after forward, Linda Caicedo’s 8th minute strike gifted Colombia a 1-0 victory over the hapless Nigerians at Leòn Stadium, Mexico on Saturday in the 4-nation invitational tournament tagged Revelation Cup.
The 9-time African champions were beaten 1-0 by host country, Mexico’s senior women’s team in the first match of the tournament played at Leòn Stadium, Mexico late Wednesday which was in the early hours of Thursday in Nigeria.
Expectations that Super Falcons will redeem themselves after losing the first match to Mexico in the second game against Colombia evaporated like early morning dew as Caicedo’s 8th minute goal was enough to see the Las Chicas Superpoderosas of Colombia triumphed over the Falcons.
Coach Randy Waldrum had stated in his post-match interview after the Mexico defeat that he brought young players to the tournament, adding that the competition is just a learning process for the Super Falcons even as the second choice goalkeeper Yewande Balogun is 33 years of age and has been with the team since the coach was hired by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). Balogun is yet to stand between the sticks for Falcons but has always been invited in place of Falconets and Flamingos youth goalkeepers who will take over from Nnadozie in the near future.
Super Falcons Goalkeepers, (L-R) Chiamaka Nnadozie (16), Toochukwu Oluehi (1) and Yewande Balogun (23)
Coach Waldrum who is the incumbent Head Coach of Pittsburgh University, Pennsylvania women’s soccer team in the United States (US), still featured his regular players with Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal just Rasheedat Ajibade has been leading the team in the absence of team captain Asisat Oshoala.
Others the gaffer lined up are Toni Payne, Halimat Ayinde, Esther Okoronkwo, Ifeoma Onumonu and new invitee Jennifer Echegini who was replaced in the 85th minute by Christy Ucheibe even as Francisca Ordega came in at same time for Onumonu.
Earlier in the 72nd minute Waldrum brought on the duo of Uchenna Kanu and Ngozi Okobi for Okoronkwo and Payne to bolster his blunt attack but his tactics as always, failed to ensure victory or draw against Colombia on the night.
By Saturday’s loss to Colombia, Coach Waldrum-tutored Super Falcons have lost seven straight matches, including triple back-to-back defeats, and have also conceded a whopping 12 goals in open play while scoring a paltry two goals in seven games.
The losing streak of Super Falcons have refused to abate as the team has continued to perform below the expectations of Nigerian women’s football supporters and indeed fans across the country.
Worse, Waldrum who has been on the job as the Super Falcons trainer since October 2020 is still claiming that the team is still work in progress with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Australia and New Zealand less than four months away.
Prompt News reports that the coach and his support staff have attended over nine Grade A international football competitions and friendly matches, starting with Festival Women’s Trophy Antalya in Turkey from February 14 to 24, 202, without recording any success.
Gritty..Two Super Falcons players labouring to stop Team USA star Carli Lloyd during the Summer Series tournament in Texas in 2021
Also, they have attended Summer Series in Texas, US and 6-Nation Invitational in Lagos, Nigeria followed before the Women African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifiers; Tour of Canada; 12th WAFCON final in Morocco; Two-match Tour of U.S. 2; International Friendly with Japan and the latest tournament in Mexico.
In all, Waldrum’s team has continued to record monumental failures which the Super Falcons were not associated with in the team’s 33 years of existence through the efforts of patriotic and die-hard women’s football promoters both living and dead.
However, the Super Falcons will play their third match of the Mexico invitational tournament against Costa Rica on Tuesday, February 21.