The Super Falconets of Nigeria were eliminated from the ongoing FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France on Thursday following a 2-1 loss to Spain in the quarter finals.
Although the Falconets surpassed their previous achievement last time out making it past the group stage this time, a lot of people believe they can be even better with better coaching.
I will hammer on coaching because the major flaw of this team isn’t a lack of good players but more a lack of tactics and style. For anyone who watched 20 minutes of the over 360 mins the Falconets played in France, you would notice that the first instinct of the players is to boot the ball forward when in possession (what we call anywhere belle face or kick and follow football in local parlance).
Also when defending, rather than play it out from the back or play a good pass forward the players prefer to ‘play it safe’ and put the ball out of play even when not under pressure from the opponents.
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Another thing I noticed is the disjointed and lack of cohesion in the team for the major part of the game. Throughout their stay in France, the Super Falconets did poorly in terms of transition play. They always found it difficult to move from defence to midfield and from the middle to attack. It was a problem that kept reoccurring, leaving Rasheedat Ajibade lonely upfront. But on the few occasions the midfield was able to connect with the attack we scored. This again, is a coaching problem.
The third thing that went wrong was the inability to hold on to possession. I am not sure there is a good dribbler in that Falconets team. The girls could barely go past the opponents whenever they had the ball hence, they lost possession easily once put under pressure.
So why do I think they can do better? Simple! It’s because they have the players to do better. In France, I saw glimpses of what a well drilled Falconets team can do. In some of those games they had some 10-15 mins of good free flowing football stringing passes together and creating chances but it didn’t last and there lies the problem.
With Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal, Nigeria doesn’t have a goalkeeping problem now or in future. Christy Ucheibe is a very good combative midfielder while Peace Efih has an eye for a good pass. I also saw Aishat Bello do some skillful moves while Rasheedat Ajibade we know is another decent player. Chidinma Okeke also did well in defence considering she is an attacker.
These are some of the players who caught my attention in France and we can build a well drilled and solid team around these players but they will need to be well coached. This is to enable them impose themselves and their style on the opponent and force them into submission.
Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below.