Head coach of the Nigeria women’s team Randy Waldrum says he is ‘extremely excited’ over the Nigeria Football Federation’s approval of his side’s participation in the 2021 Turkish Women’s Cup.
His reaction is coming hours after the endorsement of the Super Falcons’ tour of Turkey in February and two friendlies against Morocco days later by the NFF executive board on Tuesday.
Before Waldrum’s appointment in October, the African champions have not played a match in 14 months, with their last the 1-1 draw against Cote d’Ivoire in the 2020 Olympic qualifier in Lagos.
On receiving news of the approved tours, the American tactician thanked the Amaju Pinnick-led board, while stressing that the year 2021 would be crucial in the team’s quest for success.
“I’m extremely excited about this news and very happy for our players,” Waldrum told Goal.
“I’m very appreciative of the NFF and Executive Committee for approving these vitally important events. I think this calendar year 2021 is vital to our development before qualification begins.”
The Turkish invitational which enters its fourth edition in 2021 will feature Nigeria for the first time after a late withdrawal in 2018.
Despite the possibility of meeting low-profile women’s teams, the 64-year-old insisted keeping his team active is of utmost importance for him to build a formidable side.
“I haven’t seen who is at the Turkish tournament so I can’t say,” he continued.
“We need to be active with games and camps this year as it takes time to develop an understanding of how we want to play and playing together as a unit.”
The camps are likely to see the return of some top players, including Desire Oparanozie and Rita Chikwelu to the team’s fold since their appearances at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
On what his roster could look like ahead of February’s tours, the former Trinidad and Tobago coach provided insight into his plans, while craving for more camping opportunities during the year.
“I certainly want to see the Women’s World Cup players but also want to see some fresh local-based players as well,” Waldrum disclosed.
“It’s also great to know the Nigerian league is on. I surely can’t wait to watch and see the level of the women’s league!
“That’s why it’s important to have as many camps as possible. We need to use those times to evaluate. It’s absolutely great opportunities for those players in the domestic league and others.
“I expect the players to come in with a good fitness level and that’s why I sent them a program I prepared.
“Those playing internationally will most likely be at a pretty good level but those that have not been active needs to do the programs provided.”
Waldrum is tasked to lead the Super Falcons through two major campaigns, the 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations which double as the qualifying event for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.