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Can the Super Falcons return to their winning ways this summer?

Nigeria, otherwise referred to as the ‘Super Flacons’, have dominated the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for many decades, but a turn of events will see the African side travel to Australia without this title. What can be expected from the Super Falcons, in this unfamiliar situation?

The nine-time African Champions have a trophy-filled history, in which they have qualified for the last six World Cups, which has earned the team a FIFA ranking of 40. The Super falcons best ever performance at the tournament was in 1999, when the squad reached the quarter-finals. For three years since this, Nigeria struggled to make it past the group stage, until the last World Cup in 2019, which saw the African side reach the Round of 16.

Their recent struggle in the Africa Cup of Nations highlights the growth of the women’s game, as it shows that the rest of Africa is catching up to their high standards. The team will look to star player, Asisat Oshoala, to keep them in front.

Strength and pace ooze out of the striker in the final third. Her ability to find the target at such a respected club as Barcelona is truly impressive. The 28-year-old is considered one of the best, if not the best, African women’s footballer, in which she has been nominated for a Ballon d’or and won the African women’s player of the year award four times.

Oshoala is a great influence on the others players, in order to inspire them to reach her level too. However, competing in a World Cup requires more than just one stand-out player, so the team as a whole will be pressured to collectively perform well over the next month.

Head coach, Randy Waldrum, has been scrutinised for his contribution to the success of the Nigerian team. Following the failure to win the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year, another unsuccessful campaign this summer could put his job in danger. However, he is put in a tricky situation, with the NFF still owing some salaries, and the growth of football on the continent applies additional pressure and competition for Nigeria to stand out.

Nigeria face Canada, Republic of Ireland and co-hosts Australia, which proves to be a tough group stage. The maximum amount of games Nigeria have played at a World Cup is 4, but with competitions growing, is this do-able again?

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