Fearsome S’Falcons now beatable, laments Akide
Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja
Nigeria’s campaign in the Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco has continued to raise concern over their drop in dominance in the African continent.
Before the continental tourney, the Super Falcons of Nigeria were defeated 4-2 in 2021 by Banyana Banyana in the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Cup in Abuja.
Although South African females had ended up as runners-up to the Super Falcons in the 2018 WAFCON that was hosted by Ghana, Banyana Banyana vowed to revenge which they did in the Aisha Buhari Cup and also in the group stages of 2022 WAFCON.
Super Falcons’ opening game in the recently concluded WAFCON was a 2-1 defeat to the Banyana Banyana but qualified to play Lionesses of Cameroon in the quarter-final.
However, they were stopped a step to the final by Morocco and fell to fourth place after Copper Queens of Zambia got an advantageous 29-minute own-goal conceded by Chiamaka Nnadozie.
Following the Super Falcons’ poor outing, Mercy Akide-Udoh said the Nigeria senior female team has lost its fearsome nature in the African continent.
According to her, the competition is advancing with respective national teams believing they can nip the Super Falcons in the bud.
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”Everyone now believes they can beat Nigeria,” Akide-Udoh told BBC Sport.
”The competition is growing and other countries are catching up. Everybody now believes they can beat Nigeria,” the first African female football of the year reiterated.
However, the 46-year-old who won three WAFCON titles with the Super Falcons in 1998, 2000 and 2002, applauded the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the strides recorded in advancing female football.
Comparing her time with the present, Akide-Udoh agreed that there was a distinction in the WAFCON event which affirms that CAF is doing a marvellous job.
Akide-Udoh commended South Africa and Morocco coaches, Desiree Ellis and Reynald Pedros respectively for the wonderful jobs they are doing for their teams.
She expressed, ”When I see those countries that are investing, if you give it four or five years, it is going to be amazing, I am so grateful that I am still alive to see what CAF is doing for women’s football.
”The quality from my time to now is getting better. South Africa have come so far and I give kudos to my friend Desiree (Ellis) for what she has done for that team. Looking at the Morroco team the coach ( Reynald Pedros ) has done an amazing job,” she added.
The retired Super Falcons forward scored a brace in her international debut during a World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone in Ibadan.
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