Nigeria vs Zambia: Falcons seek bounce back after SA defeat
After the Super Falcons have been sent crashing back to earth by the opening game defeat to South Africa in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, Thomas Dennerby’s ladies play the high-spirited Zambian side.
Prior to the tournament’s kick-off, there was that palpable hubris that accompanied the Super Falcons. The almost logical feel that it was going to be simply rinse and repeat, after all they had won eight out of the last ten championships.
Against South Africa, the shocking result and the quality of the goal were elements that were fitting to shake the Nigeria Football Federation, blustering fans and the off-colour Falcons from their high-horse.
Wednesday’s opponents Zambia opened their AWCON campaign with an assuring 5-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea and have their sights on Falcons scalp.
“We won the opening game and that is now history, it is water under the bridge. That is past and gone. Our focus is on the next game against Nigeria,” Bruce Mwappe, Zambia’s head coach said.
“We are also ready and well-prepared to face them (Nigeria).”
While the Super Falcons still possess stunning quality across the field, the gap in quality between the Falcons and the other teams has closed with other teams committing more resources to improve themselves.
The fact that Nigeria has dominated the Africa women football scene also puts a huge bull’s eye on their backs with other teams keen to end the dominance.
“I think Nigeria has a strong strike force looking at the likes of Oshoala and Oparranozie. It will be tough game but we are not ready to give out three points. We really want to turn the tables,” Zambia midfielder, Mwakapila Mary, said.
With a spot in the Women’s World Cup up for grabs and the possibility of a major maelstrom from the administrators, the Super Falcons led by Dennerby have focused on the Zambia game after the South Africa disappointment.
“It was a difficult result for us in the first game but we have put that behind us. We learned a lot from the game and we are working hard to make sure we put things in order and correct our mistakes against Zambia,” Falcons defender Osinachi Ohale said.
The Coach confirmed that the team’s goal and not changed that they are working hard and will handle their loss professionally while showing their top team status against the Shepolopolo.
“We are just working the way we used to be, trying to prepare the team the best way we can. I remain optimistic; the aim has not changed and definitely securing a ticket to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France,” Dennerby said in the pre-match press conference.
“We hope to go all the way to the final in this tournament again. And of course we need to win against Zambia. Everybody knows we have to perform our best and fight with our hearts. We have to show ourselves that we are really a team that can handle situations like these. Big teams use to do that and if we are really a big team, we will show that in the game against Zambia.”
The Super Falcons kick off against Zambia at 4:30 pm.