Super Falcons

Five Observations from Nigeria’s 2-0 defeat to Japan

No real improvement so far

If you were expecting the Super Falcons to beat Nadeshiko, you were asking for too much.

I mean, how do you go into a friendly against the 11th-ranked team in the world in their home stadium without real training as a group?

In the first training, only eight players participated, the second training only 15 players participated.

The team eventually got 19 players, but 4 players arrived after the team concluded their training.

Apart from the incomplete squad, and not training together as a team, here are five other observations by SportsRation from Nigeria’s 2-0 loss to Japan.

1. Chiamaka Nnadozie remains the best in Africa

Chiamaka didn’t get a clean sheet as she has been doing at her club, but she gave 100% effort against Japan.

If not for her, the scoreline against the Super Falcons’ would have been up to 6.

She made three important saves in the first half including a 1v1, she was solid in the second half as well.

But was beaten by a training ground routine freekick which Tanaka scored, and a penalty from the same person – she shared no blames for both goals.

2. Ifeoma Onumonu is not offering much

Only coach Randy Waldrum understands his decision to always play Ifeoma even when she is tired or not offering much to the team.

Again, she was on the pitch the entire match when she was clearly not helping the team as a focal point.

While it is true that she didn’t get too many balls, when she got them, she did nothing with the balls.

She was constantly bullied off the ball and looked tired every time.

If the coach will always play her, she needs to step up and be a focal point indeed, right now, she is not offering anything to the team.

3. Wasting Uchenna Kanu on the flanks

Coach Randy Waldrum understands why he prefers to always play Ifeoma Onumonu as the central forward over Uchenna Kanu even when the latter has shown to be the better striker.

Uchenna Kanu playing on the flank when she can do a better job than Ifeoma Onumonu as the number 9 is baffling.

To me, it is wasting a talented striker on the flank. She would link up better, and be sharper in front of the goal but Waldrum keeps using her on the flanks.

4. Waldrum substitutions were poor

Before Christy Ucheibe’s injury, Nigeria were very much in the game. Though Japan were the only team close to scoring a goal, the Falcons were still competing.

When she got injured, coach Waldrum replaced her with Vivian Ikechukwu, and told Rasheedat Ajibade to move from the flanks into the midfield.

Ikechukwu replaced Ajibade on the flanks, but she was very poor. Ikechukwu didn’t help the team as she kept turning over the ball.

Taking out Ngozi Okobi is understandable considering she joined the team less than 15 hours into the friendly game.

Her replacement, Peace Effih didn’t offer much and this left the team exposed it wasn’t a coincidence that Japan got their first goal shortly after.

The second two minutes later.

No room for either Esther Onyenezide or Sabastine to Flourish.

5. This team has not improved under Waldrum

I believe most people didn’t expect Nigeria to beat Japan, but at least show passion, and string good passes together.

Play just like they did in the second friendly against the USA, it just looked like the team was bereft of ideas.

Like, no technical input and they just do whatever they like on the pitch.

What do you think?

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