Many Nigerians are still shell shocked with last Tuesday's football defining moment as South Africa's Bayana Bayana finally proved that they are a force to reckon with in the continent following the convincing 4-2 victory over nine-time African champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria to lift the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Women’s Invitational Football Tournament. What makes it more pleasant for the young girls from the country of Nelson Mandela is the way they outclassed perennial African Champions on their home turf with an emphatic victory thereby removing the usual mental block of always trying but not succeeding.
Credit must go to the South Africans for their hard work, persistence and patience which is bearing fruit now, truth must also be told of how South Africa has been knocking on the door. During the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations tournament, they defeated Super Falcons 1-0 in the group stage before the Super Falcons snatched the title via penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw.
While they keep planning and working hard, coupled with a good and a viable league, the reverse however is the case with Nigeria where the league is nothing but a glorified mediocrity that can't churn out new talents, so the technical crew can do nothing but keep recycling the same set of players. Not helping masters is the tactics adopted by the technical adviser Randy Waldrum who has also been advised to look inward in replacing ageing Super Falcons players.
As Nigeria get set to confront Ghana in a high-profile first round tie of the 2022 Total Energies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in October and could meet Cote d’Ivoire or Niger if they advance, so this defeat no matter how humbling is a reality check for the Coach, players and authority in charge of the team to put their house in order. Not forgetting also that a functional female league is key to a sustained long term success.
STORY BY IBROZANO ADAMS
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