Ex-Super Falcons coach, Ismaila Mabo has revealed that the Super Falcons of Nigeria have everything they need to surpass his 1999 quarter-final achievement with the team at the FIFA Women’s World World Cup (FIFAWWC).
Ismaila Mabo took the Super Falcons to her best finish at the FIFAWWC in 1999 by qualifying from the group stage directly to the quarter-final of the tournament. In an exclusive chat with www.aclsports.com he opined that the current squad will have no excuse not to do better than the 1999 team.
Comparing the realities of his ’99 squad and the current crop of players he said: “That was when women’s football was coming strongly into the country. Some of the ladies had so much interest in football and they didn’t care about money. They only cared about being invited to camp, train, play games and represent their country.
“The current players are luckier than any other ones in the past. In the sense that the NFF has prepared the present squad very very well. One of the most important things the NFF has done for the current Super Falcons is organising quality friendlies and also participating in some competitions like the WAFU Cup which just ended. We didn’t have opportunities like this in the past. The girls who trained under me didn’t have this opportunity,” he reiterated.
Nigeria has been grouped alongside 1995 champions Norway, hosts France and Korea Republic. How will the Falcons will fare in this group ACLSports asked Mabo?
“France are the hosts so it will not be easy,” he began. “If you look at Norway, they are a women footballing country. In Sweden 1995 the Super Falcons were in the same group with them and were beaten 8-0 (Nigeria’s heaviest defeat at the FIFAWWC).
“Although we are playing Korea Republic, I know we beat North Korea in 1999. All the same, it is my believe that these teams must have improved since then.”
However, despite the quality of teams the Super Falcons will come up against Mabo believes Nigeria “Have everything any team or country needs; and the coaches and the players will have no excuse if they fail to reach or go beyond the quarter-final.
“At least by my projection, I would want to say they should go beyond the quarter-final and then maybe also go beyond the semi-final,” the ex-Super Falcons coach said.
To achieve this the “Super Falcons have to tighten up, concentrate and train hard.” Adding that “The coaches also need to put into practice what they’ve learnt during the warm-up games so that they will be able to defeat France, Korea Republic and Norway to go beyond the group phase. This is my advice to them.”
“But anything less than Super Falcons reaching the semi-final, I doubt if Nigerians will agree with that. For me, I don’t think I will accept that because they have had adequate preparations that is why I’m projecting that these Super Falcons should cancel that record of 1999 by going beyond the quarter-final.”