Nigeria women’s coach Thomas Dennerby says there were good lessons learned from his team’s campaign at the Cyprus Cup.
The African champions finished seventh out of 12 teams at the week-long warm-up tournament ahead of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
After an opening defeat to Austria (4-1), they edged Slovakia (4-3), lost to Belgium (1-0), and finished with a win over Thailand (3-0) in a play-off for seventh place.
“We lost to Austria but we recovered well against Slovakia, and if we had put away the chances we had after scoring our third goal, there would have been no way for them to equalise. A good thing that we won in the end,” Dennerby said post-tournament.
“I am happy that we were able to come here and participate.”
The Super Falcons, who finished third at the four-team China Cup in January, are set to play in their eighth consecutive World Cup this summer.
“The lessons are good for the team, just like we also learnt a lot at the tournament in China,” Dennerby added.
After mixed results in 2019, Dennerby, who is set to become the first foreign coach to both qualify for and lead Nigeria at the World Cup, is focussing on the positives.
“We learned a lot of lessons in China and Cyprus that will positively help us do better in France.
“It was a great opportunity for us to know where we are, our biggest strength, where we can be and what we have to fix.”
The nine-times African champions have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts France, 1995 winners Norway and South Korea.
They are the only African team to have played in all seven tournaments since the first Women’s World Cup in 1991, but have failed to translate their continental dominance onto the world stage.
Their best performance came when reaching the quarter-finals in 1999, losing narrowly to Brazil.
They have been eliminated in the group stage at the last four tournaments.