Former Super Falcons coach Ismaila Mabo says Nigeria’s 3-0 loss to Norway on Saturday highlights the gap in quality between them and the Europeans.
Goals from Norway’s Guro Reiten (17th), Lisa-Marie Utland (34th), and an own goal by Nigeria’s Osinachi Ohale (37th) condemned Nigeria to a humiliating defeat in the first game of the 2019 Women’s World Cup currently underway in France.
Delivering his assessment of the team’s performance, Mabo said that compared to their European counterparts who have developed their women football to an appreciable level, Nigeria is still lagging behind when it comes to women’s football.
“The Norwegians have been in women football for quite a long time now. If you can recall in 1995 in Sweden, when we played them they beat our Super Falcons 8-1. And before Saturday’s game, I was a bit skeptical about our chances against them because I knew it was going be a tough one for them and I know the group would be very dicey.
“I was not surprised by the score line at the end of the encounter because I felt they dealt with us again as their old customers. The only thing I saw as a little improvement is the 3-0 result as compared to the result in 1995.
“Even when the Scandinavians were absent from the tournament over the years, I knew they were not sleeping as they kept on improving on their game. Sweden had always piped them to the World Cup ticket. And now they are back, see what they did to us again,” he said.
“With the European in charge of the Falcons, we were able to reduce the score line. But I think we need to look inward and bring back the old players of women football, the likes of Mercy Akide, Florence Omagbemi and the rest in the team. The NFF should go back and think about bringing back the pioneers of women football and let them handle the girls in the future with the support of the coaches who discovered them,” he stated.
The Falcons will look to redeem their image when they face South Korea in the second group game on Wednesday.