The head coach of the Super Falcons of Nigeria, Randy Waldrum, believes that his side is underappreciated for being ranked the 40th best team in the world by FIFA.
Even though the Super Falcons have won a record 11 African Women’s titles and featured at the Women’s World Cup consistently since the inception of the tournament in 1991, Nigeria is rated lower than other countries that can’t boast of these achievements.
So far in the ongoing 2023 Women’s World Cup, the Super Falcons have defeated the co-hosts Australia, drew with the reigning Olympics champions, Canada, and also drew with the Republic of Ireland who are rated higher than the Nigerian side on the FIFA world rankings.
In 1999, the Nigerian team got to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup and made it to the round of 16 in the last edition of the tournament four years ago in France. They are currently in the round of 16 in the 2023 Women’s World Cup where they will face England on Monday (8:30 a.m.).
“I think we’ve shown that we’re a better team than 40th in the world,” coach Waldrum said.
I think we’re underestimated and under-appreciated.”
Even though Randy Waldrum’s position as head coach of Nigeria’s senior women’s national team is in doubt, he claims to have been in contact with several Nigerian footballers who live in the US and are willing to play for the Super Falcons.
In 2020, Waldrum was appointed head coach of the Super Falcons, and his hiring paved the way for more Nigerian footballers who were American-born to join the team.
US-born athletes Michelle Alozie, Esther Okoronkwo, Ifeoma Onumonu, Yewande Balogun, Toni Payne, Jennifer Echegini, and Nicole Payne all represented Nigeria in their first international matches after Waldrum’s appointment.
Many of them seem to have regained cohesion in the ongoing 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, after fumbling at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year.
“I’ve had some U-17 coaches reach out about players they have, a couple of really good U-20 players that are playing in the US that now want to be connected to Nigeria,” coach Randy Waldrum said.
“We also have those connections in England. There are a few players there that I’m already looking at to bring to the Olympics and so forth. I think it’s a huge plus.”