People tend to forget the Super Falcons when they talk about Nigerian football. The attention is usually on the Super Eagles. And when the Eagles play badly like in the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone in November, then Nigeria has failed.
But that’s not true. We have the Falcons who have made achievements that the prized Super Eagles have yet to attain.
The Super Falcons made their World Cup and CAF debut in 1991 under Bonfrere Jo who was also managing the Super Eagles at the time.
However, the Nigerian women’s team is by far Africa’s most successful international women’s football team winning a record eleven Africa Women Cup of Nations titles, plus becoming one of the few teams in the world to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Although, the team has never made it beyond the quarter finals in World Cup and Olympics, their admirable feats cannot be denied.
Maureen Mmadu holds the record as Nigeria’s most capped female footballer with 101 appearances, tieing with Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo.
Perpetua Nkwocha remains the top goalscorer in the national team with 80 goals as against Rashidi Yekini’s record 37.
Falcons Captain and Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala has won Africa Women’s Player Of The Year a record four times.
And yet, the Falcons have suffered years of neglect and abandonment despite their achievements. And the resultant effect is the team have dropped in performance levels one of which is failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Unpaid wages, constant neglect and frustration of coaches have left the Falcons, who are currently 38th in FIFA World ranking, hanging with no foreseeable cushion to land.
According to Joe Erico, former Super Eagles assistant coach, Super Falcons domination in Africa will soon come to an end.
“For the future of the Falcons to be bright, the NFF should also look at the positive and negative sides of the past progress of the team in a bid to create a framework that would enable the women’s national team not only to dominate Africa but also excel at world competitions in the nearest future.” Erico told Guardian.
As the Falcons head to the Africa Women Cup of Nations later, let us hope that NFF’s appointment of Randy Waldrum as new head coach will be a step in the right direction of making our ladies not just African champions, but world champions as well.