‘It will be difficult for Falcons to equal USA ’99 record’
Former Super Falcons defender, Yinka Kudaisi feels it might be difficult for the present squad to equal the quarterfinal record they set at the third edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States of America.
At USA ’99, Coach Ismaila Mabo had a solid team, which included players like Ann Chiejine, Judith Chime, Yinka Kudaisi, Adanna Nwaneri, Kikelomo Ajayi, Stella Mbachu, Rita Nwadike, Gloria Usieta, Mavis Ogun, Prisca Emeafu, Nkeiru Okosieme, Florence Omagbemi, Florence Iweta, Nkechi Egbe, Patience Avre, Ifeanyi Chiejine and Mercy Akide.
The team defeated Korea DPR 2-1 in their first group match with goals from Akide and Nwadike. In their second match against host, USA, Nkeiru Okosieme scored in the 2nd minutes, which was Nigeria’s fastest goal in World Cup history, but the girls lost concentration and went down 1-7. They recovered for their last group match against Denmark, which ended 2-0 in Nigeria’s favour, with Okosieme and Akide on the score sheet.
They hit the quarterfinal, and in their match against Brazil, the Samba girls scored three quick goals in the 4th, 22nd and 35th minutes, before the Falcons fought back to draw level at 3-3 with goals from Prisca Emeafu, Okosieme and Nkechi Egbe in the second half.
With the scoreline at 3-3 in 90 minutes, the spectators increased their support for the Nigerians, but a moment of madness by the Falcons at extra time saw Brazil’s danger woman, Sissi scoring a golden goal in the 104th minute from a free kick. The journey ended for Super Falcons, but about 20 years, their quarterfinal record at the senior World Cup is yet to be broken.
Kudaisi told The Guardian yesterday that the team to USA ’99 was able to achieve such feat because they played as a united family.
“I don’t think the current squad can match our record at USA ’99. Then, we played as members of one family. We had a first 11 squad and a second 11 squad. The coach had problems selecting his first 11 players for a match. What we have today can never be compared to the USA ’99 team,” Kudaisi stated.
The Guardian recalls that head coach of the Super Falcons, Thomas Dennerby recently declared that his target going to France 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is to surpass the performance of every Nigerian team that has participated in previous World Cups.
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