It was not just that the Super Falcons got off to a losing start in their title defence against South Africa at the 2018 AWCON, but the manner in which they did so calls for a lot of concern.
SCORENIGERIA lists five major problems facing the eight-time African champions.
Over reliance on the old guard
Even though Rasheedat Ajibade started against South Africa on Sunday in Cape Coast, the core of the team remain those aunties who have there for many years – Rita Chikwelu, Onome Ebi, Faith Ikidi, Osinachi Ohale, Francisca Ordega.
This is even despite the recent successes recorded by the country’s U20s at international level.
One would have expected that besides these experienced stars, the team should be courageous and ready to line up fresh and younger talents when it matters most.
‘World Class’ Dennerby has not cut it here
Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby was hailed by his employers as “world-class” and he does have an intimidating resume, but it seems he is only in Nigeria to enjoy a more financially rewarding pension.
He has failed to impose his style and so-called tactical organisation on this team since he was appointed last year.
The girls are heavy and ponderous
The Falcons looked heavy and out of shape for close watchers to question their conditioning.
Striker Desire Oparanozie looked overweight and fumbled in front of goal, Ordega showed off her new afro hairstyle, while Asisat Oshoala was only too happy to play to the gallery that at the end of 90 minutes against South Africa the Falcons did not have a shot on target.
Have they really been putting in the shift in training camp?
Or they simply believe they only have to turn up in Ghana to win a ninth AWCON crown?
The hunger is no longer there
That hunger to be champions again appears to be lacking in this team and while they have stagnated tactically and technically other teams have caught up with them very quickly.
The She-polopolo of Zambia are a good example of a team who have stepped up as was evident in their 5-0 thrashing of the once-dreaded Equatorial Guinea on Sunday night.
The Falcons remain an afterthought for this NFF
The major and only brand of the NFF led by Amaju Pinnick remains the Super Eagles and so every other national team including the highly successful Falcons will have to play a poor second fiddle.
That explained the team’s hurried build-up to this AWCON.
It also explained the disgraceful episode of two years ago when the girls were holed up in a hotel in Abuja insisting they be paid their entitlements after they retained the AWCON in Cameroon.
They are most certainly not the priority of this NFF and so whatever becomes of them in Ghana should not come as a big surprise.
To whom less is given, less is expected…