It’s been a while I’ve seen the Nigeria Women National team bullied at the Africa Women Championships, Ghana Black Queens did just that on Wednesday The Falcons may still have the last laugh, but Florence Omagbemi needs to re-arrange the team…
The Falcons will need to toughen up if they want to win this title. They were all tricks, flicks and goals against a Mali side that rolled-over. The Ghanaians did the Falcons no such favours. They battled for every ball, and the Falcons not only folded, they became desperate. The Lionesses of Cameroon will now be licking their lips in anticipation of meeting these ‘soft’ Falcons!
Asisat Oshoala needs to get back into a central midfield position. The Arsenal star is arguably the most skilful player in the team, and must be the creative hub. Rita Chikwelu is playing well, but the Falcons need the vision, passing and Oshoala’s skill of running into channels, to have that x-factor. She is wasting away playing as a forward.
The defenders must learn to trust each other, and ONE of them must call the shots. Onome Ebi and Faith Ikhidi are seasoned professionals, Osinachi Ohale has played in the competitive North American Women League, and all three are working as independent units. They look disorganised against the Black Queens. One of them must take charge, and end the chaotic situation. The sight of defenders constantly running into each other is embarrassing.
If Halimatu Ayinde and Osarenoma Igbinovia looked unsure against Ghana, imagine what their state will be should they face the hosts? They will wilt under the harassment from the stands, and the expected aggression of the Lionesses. That is why they need to toughen up.
Then, Omagbemi must either find a natural winger, or create one for the Falcons, and make them use that width. If there is a winger in this team, she needs to grow more into the role. The Falcons looked unsure at some point versus Ghana, when the Black Queens shut down the route down the middle. And there was almost always a free Falcon on the wing that is ignored!
The road to a 10th African Championship will lead through either Ghana or Cameroon, and the Falcons must be ready. Luckily for the Falcons, they have overcome first round stumble against both teams on their way to Championship wins in the past, still, they need to take heed!
Pic courtesy CAF