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Nigeria vs Ghana: A litmus test that could determine the future of the Super Falcons’ coach

The Super Falcons will take on the Black Queens of Ghana in the 2022 African Women Cup Of Nations ( AWCON) qualifiers, over two legs with the first leg taking in Lagos and the second leg in Accra on Wednesday 20 October and Sunday, October 24, 2021, respectively and the future of the Super falcon’s coach, Randy Waldrum future could be tied to the outcome of the matches.

The first leg of the encounter will be the first competitive match by the 65-year-old American coach since he took over as the Super Falcons coach a year ago.

He came in when the team needed a turnaround, as Ivory Coast just eliminated Nigeria from the race to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the West Africa zonal elimination series.

He is expected to build a team that can compete with the best teams in the world, by qualifying for the 2022 AWCON and successfully defended the trophy won three years ago.

And consequently, qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women World Cup as the AWCON serves as the qualifier for World Cup and possibly equal or surpass the quarter-final feat of the 1999 class of Super Falcons.

These are the immediate future of the team in the hands of the American coach.

This desirable future could depend on the outcome of the matches against the West African rival in a space of four days as any unfavorable outcome may put an end to the romance between Randy Waldrum and the Nigeria Football Federation.

The journey so far

The romance started in February this year when Waldrum started his reign as the Super Falcons coach on a winning note at the inaugural edition of the Turkish Women’s Cup in Antalya, Turkey between February 17 to February 23, 2021.

The team won all their three games in the competition, with a 1-0 identical score against CSKA Moscow Ladies and Uzbekistan before whitewashing the Equatorial Guinea by 9-0.

Raising the hopes and expectations back home, but since then the team has failed to live up to those expectations in subsequent games as they failed to win any of the three games played in the Summer Series in the United States in the summer of 2021.

The Super Falcons lost to Jamaica Ladies by 1-0 and put up a spirited 3-3 draw against Portugal levelling up after going down by two goals.

And the consolation arrived in the last game when the team kept the score line low against the almighty USA losing by just two goals to nil.

With inclusions of players from America, the coach asserts that the team is growing and a great lesson has been learned that will make the team better going forward.

Randy Waldrum told the NFF media after the tournament “ We were able to see several new players. The girls also came up against strong teams and did not fare badly.

“Lessons have been learned and I am delighted with our performance and general attitude on and off the pitch,” he said.

Then comes the Aisha Buhari Cup, the Super Falcons and Waldrum were the overwhelming favorite to lift the Cup for obvious reasons.

Firstly, Nigeria is the host and all the invited teams are coming from the Africa continent where Nigeria has been a dominant force.

Most importantly the team has been kept busy with friendly matches hence the team should be ready to dispatch all comers with aplomb as the coach is expected to apply all the lessons learnt from the International friendly games.

But when the chips were down, the Super Falcons put up an uninspiring performance and labored to a two zero victory over Mali courtesy of Monday Gift, she came from the bench to deliver the team.

The team was then humiliated in the follow up against the Bayana Bayana as the team fell to three unreplied goals in the first thirty minutes, and eventually lost by 4-2 and the whole nation felt disappointed, a lot of people were forced to take stock of how the team has managed by the 65-year-old American.

The litmus test

After taking charge of 8 games, the jury is out on the coach as the team only won one of their last five matches.

He needs results against Ghana to convince Nigerians that he is good enough to take the Super Falcons to the desired future and he needs no soothsayer to tell him that his future is tied to the game, considering the consequences of being eliminated by the Ghanaians.

This is because the two-legged games hold the key to unlock the door for the Super Falcons to defending the AWCON title won in 2019 as well qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women World Cup.

This is a litmus test that coach Waldrum cannot afford to fail, as the NFF and Nigerian football fans will be interested in the outcome come October 2021 when the final leg of the encounter will be played in Accra coinciding with the first anniversary of the coach on the job.

Olusola Adebayo is a highly-skilled, enthusiastic, self-motivated writer with over 10 successful years of experience.

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Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

Olafare Michael Oluwabukolahttps://t.me/notchplug
A Nationa Diploma holder in Computer Science at LENS POLYTECHNIC Offa, a full-time blogger, beatmaker, modern graphics designer, talent manager, and a vocalist
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