The Super Falcons of Nigeria are set to reclaim their birth rights as the traditional African female soccer team, as the African Women Championship begins in South Africa. The perennial champions who have won 5 out of 6 editions of the championship lost only the last edition to Equatorial Guinea which was also the host of the last edition.
The Nigerian team may have lost the last edition by underrating their opponent; and partly because the team also had some fitness problems during the time. This time around they are set to bounce back into reckoning.
One of the things that would work in favour of the falcons is the coaching crew led by former African highest goal scorer Uche Eucharia who is highly experienced after being to the first 3 editions of the women world cup. She was also at the first edition of the African Championship held in Abeokuta in Nigeria in 1998 as the assistance coach of the team.
Uche Eucharia is assisted by another experienced former member of the falcons, Anne Agumanu who was the goal keeper during her time. With the team being handled by past players who know the areas of strength and weaknesses of the various teams, it would be easier for them to do well in South Africa and at the end emerge victorious.
The current Nigeria team is a mixture of experience and youth as some of the players were graduated from the U-20 who got the final of the female youth championship in Germany this year.
However, one area the falcons need to work harder is the area of attack; it was evident during the U-20 Championship in Germany that the team was struggling to convert the begging opportunities they had. With a highly experienced striker as the current coach, that should not be a major problem anymore.
The team is very strong in the midfield and defense: they only need to add one or two good strikers to augment he effort of the midfielders. If the team is able to hold its ground the way the U-20 and the U-17 did recently, it would be easy for them to succeed with the addition of the experienced old hands.
The falcons play their opening match against Mali on the 1st of November. The other teams in their group include the host nation South Africa and Tanzania. The only major threat to their ambition is the host team which is equally experienced though they have not won any tournament titles.