Super Falcons

Style, Oshoala’s commitment, Oparanozie’s impact – Five Observations from Nigeria 2-1 win v Haiti

Esther Okoronkwo’s freekick and Asisat Oshoala’s goal gave Super Falcons of Nigeria a 2-1 win against Les Grenadiers of Haiti in an International friendly played in Antalya, Turkey on Friday.

The Super Falcons could have comfortably won by a bigger margin but in the end, they got the job done to secure their second win in a row.

For the first time in a long while Coach Randy Waldrum’s side played one of the best football we have ever seen from them and here are SportRation’s five observations from the game.

5. Style of play

Oh no!, we have had to endure a directionless Super Falcons under Randy Waldrum, but today, we saw a different team, they oozed class!

The girls were not in a hurry, they string passes together, they were comfortable on the ball, and there was no rush to release the ball ‘anywhere belle face’, I thoroughly enjoyed them today.

Again, it wasn’t because it was just Haiti, they had played lesser teams in the past and played poorly, but they were good today.

They fought as a team, retained the ball, and got a well-deserved victory.

4. Thumbs up Waldrum with the selection, but…

I thought coach Randy Waldrum got his selections spot on, we had the right personnel on the pitch for this game and it reflected on the outcome of the game.

In goal, Nnadozie, Imuran, Ebi, Demehin, and Alozie at the back, in the midfield; Ayinde, Echegini, and Payne, in the attack; Ajibade, Okoronkwo, and Oshoala.

While he got his starting XI correctly, his experimentation caused Super Falcons the goal they conceded today, replacing a defender with a midfielder.

3. Asisat Oshoala’s commitment

This is not just about one game, Asisa Oshoala’s commitment should never be doubted.

It will always be a thing of worry for anyone seeing their star player banging goals at the club level, and sometimes failing to honour invitations or failing to live up to expectations even when she comes.

Asisat Oshoala has always given her best for Super Falcons, her last major injury was in a game for Super Falcons at the WAFCON, so, when people talk about her commitment it baffles me.

She got a goal today, she could have easily scored a hat-trick but she got one and worked with the team off the ball.

On more than three occasions, Asisat Oshoala was helping the defenders, she tracked back to help out against Haiti’s attackers. She put her leg and body on the line.

Oshoala tracking back to help
Oshoala tracking back to help

2. Desire Oparanozie impact

Desire Oparanozie only played for 25 minutes, between this time she created two goal-scoring opportunities and had one shot on target.

She teed up Rasheedat Ajibade up after attracting two defenders, and Ajibade’s final pass was cleared. Oparanozie also had a chance of her own after creating the goal-scoring opportunity by herself.

The ball was parried back to her, and she passed to Oshoala who should have buried the chance but her tame shot was saved by Haiti’s goalie.

She is a big part of this team and it should stay that way, her impact in 25 minutes was felt, she played like a boss, and as if she never left.

1. Onome Ebi conundrum

The Super Falcons captain will be going to her sixth world cup, she has already set a record for the most participation by an African at the World Cup (2003, 2007, 2011 2015, and 2019).

I understand she will have the opportunity to extend that record, and also set another record, at 40, she could become the oldest player to play at FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Guess, no one should be on the way of history but there should be a worthy replacement in the team.

Since her injury in a game for Super Falcons last year, she has not played up to 30 minutes of club football but gets Super Falcons call-ups.

It still looks like the injury is still there but she keeps going at it, also her timing and positioning were properly exploited today and will be the case at the World Cup.

Here she was caught in no man’s land.

What she lacked in pace, timing, and positioning she made up for it in leadership and maybe that is one of their reasons for having her on the pitch.

We conceded when she was taken out, and because her replacement Ucheibe who is a midfielder was asked to play as a defender.

What do you think?

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