Falcons Fail To Fly

Nigeria super falconsOn a day the Les Lions of Cameroun shocked football pundits by qualifying for the round of 16 in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, after beating Switzerland 2-1, the Super Falcons, considered by many to be a superior side, failed to follow suit. They lost 0-1 against the USA in a group D game they needed to win. The match was played  at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada. A 45 minute goal from Abby Wambach was enough to seal victory for the two time world champions on a day expectations were high that the unpredictable Falcons could spring a surprise and progress to the next round. The result saw the African champions heading home and failing to realize their pre world cup boast to improve on the quarter final performance of their 1999 counterparts. Yet it might have turned out all differently had Asisat Oshoala converted a 25th minute chance.  The pacy attacker got to the end of a  lovely pass from  a colleague only to see her effort thwarted by American defender, Julie Johnston.

Guilty of leaving their battles too late, Nigeria battled to contain their foes forays until the 45th minute when Wambach, the veteran striker volleyed home her 14th world cup goal off a corner kick. The result leaves Nigeria last on the group with just one point while Australia, with four points, qualified as runners up. Sweden, which earned three points from its three matches, could still qualify as one of the best losers by the time the other group matches are concluded.

The Nigeria—USA match was watched by 52, 193 fans, most of whom were draped in USA’s colours. Canada and USA share borders and it was little surprising that Americans literally took over the stands each time their team was playing, from Winnipeg to Vancouver. While the American  fans jubilated at the end of the encounter, the reverse was the case for many Nigerians at the stadium and elsewhere who, yet again wonder just when the jinx would be broken. Since 1991, the Super Falcons have flown Africa’s flag on the global stage with minimal success. The team’s best outing, in seven FIFA world cup competitions, is the quarter final berth it secured fourteen years ago in the United States.

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