FIFA knocks Falcons over poor showing in France

Nigeria’s Super Falcons who beat Algeria home and away to zoom into the next round of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers were each paid N65, 000.

World Soccer Ruling body, FIFA, under the aegis of its Technical Study Group (TSG) has given a damning verdict on the performance of the Super Falcons at the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.

The Coach Thomas Dennerby-led side beat only Korea Republic (2-0) in their Preliminary Group A match but lost 3-0 to Norway and 1-0 to hosts France to sneak into the second round as one of the best losers. But the Falcons failed to progress further following an unimpressive 3-0 loss to Germany in the Round of 16.

In an analytical review of the tournament, the TSG headed by American April Heinrichs and working in conjunction with the FIFA Coaching and Player Development Department led by Branimir Ujevic, scored the Super Falcons below average in almost all the departments of the game as it allocated 40 per cent for possession in all the four matches while they also came in distant 13th position in the overall standing.

The team also came a distant 16th averaging a mere 25 percent in the Opponents and Opposition Defenders Bypassed category and were also awarded 21 per cent in the Crosses and Cross success.

It would be recalled that the Super Falcons only scored two goals in four matches in France consequently the TSG awarded them with just 1.3 points as per shots on target even as the team finished bottom as the team with the least distance coverage with 100.5km in four matches.

Yet Super Falcons’ assistant coach at the tournament and former Nigerian international, Maureen Mmadu has stoutly defended the performance of the team in France, even as she admitted there is room for improvement.

“I’m yet to digest fully the report of the TSG but the truth is that we did our best in France because it was the first time we reached the round of 16 since at the FIFA World Cup since 1999,” Mmadu who is the only Nigerian women with over 100 international caps said.

“Our coaching crew led by Thomas Dennerby tried our best to impact discipline and professionalism into the team and I believe we could have even done more if we’d continue with the program we have for the team after the World Cup in France.”

Mmadu who played in four FIFA World Cups with the Super Falcons in her active days said that Nigerian clubs and players would have to imbibe true professionalism to enhance the growth of the game.

“We still have a long way to go but our players need to be as professional as their counterparts in Europe and they must be ready to sacrifice especially when they are playing for the Super Falcons,” she noted.

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