Nigeria’s Focus’ll Turn From Finances To Soccer For Its Women’s World Cup Opener Against Canada


LAGOS JULY 20TH (NEWSRAGERS)-All the focus on Randy Waldrum’s criticism of the Nigerian soccer federation and the rebuke he received in return will count for very little Friday when the Super Falcons open their Women’s World Cup campaign against Canada.

“I think the players have appreciated the fact that I will step up for them and speak out on their behalf,” Waldrum said of his comments about the federation’s financial support for his team. “As a coach, I need to be a voice for the girls and fight for the things that they deserve to be getting.”

Ever since the Super Falcons touched down in Australia this month, though, the mindset of Waldrum and his team has shifted from pay and conditions to the task at hand.

“Forget about the distractions, and just focus on the game,” star striker Asisat Oshoala, who plays for Barcelona, said after a training session in Brisbane this week.

It’s a sentiment Waldrum, who coaches the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team, fully supports.

“What we’ve said is out there. Now let’s set it aside and focus on football,” he said. “Everything has always been about football.”

Nigeria is focusing on placing in the top two in Group B, which includes Olympic champion Canada, tournament co-host Australia and tournament newcomer Ireland.

Achieving that goal will ensure Nigeria advances to the round of 16 and at least matching its run at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The Super Falcons traditionally have been the strongest team in Africa, with nine Women’s Africa Cup of Nations titles and eight World Cup appearances. But this year Nigeria is entering the World Cup with disappointment after placing fourth in in the continental championship a year ago.

The team staged sit-ins at its hotels at the 2019 World Cup and at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations to protest a lack of payments the players said they were owed by the federation.

In the lead-up to this year’s World Cup, the Super Falcons had fewer training days together than Waldrum would have liked after the federation canceled a training camp in Nigeria. The players and federation also are at odds over what they will be paid for playing in the World Cup.

Oshoala said the players appreciate Waldrum’s support. He made his most pointed comments about the situation in a podcast earlier this month. An official from the national federation fired back with heavy criticism of Waldrum, fueling more headlines.

“He’s been helpful as well to the players,” Oshoala said. “He’s encouraged everyone to just go out there to play.”

Rumors arose recently that the Nigerian players would boycott their opening match against Canada, but the players put that kind of speculation to rest.

“We’re used to being in this situation now,” Oshoala said. “At the end of the day the girls understand it’s about their career, it’s about the nation first, and we’re going to go out there and play regardless.”


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Posted by on Jul 20 2023. Filed under National, Ondo. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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