SUPER FALONS

Nigeria's Super Falcons likely road to a 10th WAFCON title

The Super Falcons will start their quest for a 10th Women's Africa Cup of Nations title in a matter of days.

Super Falcons won't have an easy ride in Morocco.

The biennial competition for women’s senior national teams in Africa will see the usual suspects go head-to-head for honours in Morocco.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons are the holders and will be looking to successfully defend the crown for the ninth time in the history of the competition.

However, a tenth title for the Super Falcons in TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco isn’t going to be a stroll in the park for the team.

Here is a look at what lies ahead of the Falcons as they look to conquer the continent again.

The strength of Nigeria’s Super Falcons lies in their pedigree as the team to beat in Morocco. The performance of the Falcons in the competition and the calibre of players in the team clearly set the team apart.

Super Falcons will go into the 12th edition of the WAFCON as clear favourites, having emerged as the winners in nine of the previous 11 editions of the tournament.

With the likes of Asisat Oshoala, Rasheedat Ajibade, Ifeoma Onumonu, Ashleigh Plumptrye, goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie and NWFL superstar, Monday Gift, the Falcons possess the tools to successfully defend their crown.

While the Falcons are favourites for the title, winning in Morocco won’t come easy for Randy Waldrum’s men.

Nigeria has failed to win the title just two times, with Equatorial Guinea taking the crown on both occasions.

Therefore, heading into the 2022 edition, the Falcons need to be aware that there will be some hurdles on the way to glory starting with the opener against a familiar foe.

  • Banyana Banyana of South Africa

Nigeria will kick off the 12th WAFCON and her title defense against the South African women’s national football team, Banayan Banyana.

This encounter is the most important match for the Super Falcons as it will determine who finishes as group winners.

Like the Falcons, Banyana Banyana is in Morocco looking determined more than ever to clinch their first-ever WAFCON title.

They are looking to prove that they are not underachievers in Africa and will want to dent Nigeria’s chances in the tournament as early as possible.

The South Africans will represent the first real test for the Super Falcons if their recent encounters are anything to go by.

Banyana Banyana have had the upper hand since 2018, winning two of three matches between the two. They also came to Nigeria to claim the Aisha Buhari cup, beating the Falcons en route to lifting that title.

More threats for Nigeria could come in the form of neighbours, Cameroon, who are expected to make it out from Group B and host, Morocco, who will have the support of the home fans as they look to go as far as possible.

  • Knockout stages

Nigeria is headed on a collision course with South Africa, Cameroon or Morocco at some point in the competition.

Should the Super Falcons fail to finish first in Group C, chances are they could come against South Africa again in the semi-finals.

Another threat will be from the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon, who on their day, are a match for any team on the continent.

  • The Host

The Atlas Lionesses are one of the most prepared teams heading into the tournament.

Morocco will be massively backed by the home fans and could meet the Super Falcons in the semifinals should the Falcons finish second in Group C.

While the Falcons have all it takes to go all the way to the final, all eyes will be on coach Randy Waldrum, who is taking charge of his first big assignment since he was appointed two years ago.

The jury is still out on the American coach, who hasn’t really convinced many since he took charge of the team with the Falcons hardly looking in control and convincing in their play.

In Morocco, coach Waldrum will have his work cut out for him as Nigerians won’t accept anything less than the title and ticket to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Coach Randy, Nigerians are watching, no fall our hands.

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