24 years after 8-0 defeat, Super Falcons again test might against Norway

No way…Super Falcons defender, Faith Michael, seems to tell her challenger during the team’s preparation in Austria ahead of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup. Nigeria will face Norway today

One of the assistant coaches in the current Super Falcons’ squad, Maureen Madu, played for Nigeria in the second edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup at Sweden ’95. The experience was horrible.

After crashing out in the group stage at China ’91, many Nigerians were looking forward to a more purposeful Super Falcons in Sweden. But it turned out to be one of the worst outings for Nigeria, as the team, led by Coach Paul Hamilton, conceded 14 goals and scored just five.

But the biggest headline in that tournament was the 8-0 defeat suffered by the Super Falcons in the hands of Norway, their opponents in today’s Group A encounter in France 2019 World Cup. Then, the Super Falcons parading players like Ann Chiejine, Omo-Love Branch, Rita Nwadike, Marvis Ogun, Prisca Emeafu, Yinka Kudaisi, Florence Omagbemi, Mercy Akide, Patience Avre, Nkeiru Okosieme, Ngozi Ezeocha and Maureen Madu fell like a pack of cards, losing 8-0 in their first group match to Norway before going down 2-3 to England in their second games. They drew 3-3 with Canada.

That was 24 years ago, and one of the team’s assistant coaches to Sweden ’95, Ismaila Mabo is yet to forget the sad memory of the 8-0 defeat to Norway.

“The Norwegians I know in women football are very dangerous. They humiliated the Falcons 8-0 at Sweden ’95 World Cup and I am yet to forget the sad memory. It was a horrible experience. The Scandinavians believe in physical football and long range passes. I don’t know the strength of our team at the moment, but if the Falcons must get a result against Norway in their first group match on Saturday (today), the players and the technical crew members must do extra work,” he stated.

Mabo, whose record as coach of the Super Falcons at the World Cup is yet to be broken since USA ’99, continues: “It is unfortunate the Falcons are in this tight group. I don’t want to call it the group of death. Their second group match against South Korea next week is not going to be easy. At USA ‘2003 World Cup, the Falcons lost 0-3 to Korea DPR in their first group match, and they never recovered from that defeat. They went on to lose 0-5 to USA and 0-3 to Sweden. The point I am trying to make is that the Falcons must work hard to survive this group.

“Their last group match is against the host country, France. We lost 0-2 to France in our first group match at Germany 2011. They also defeated the Falcons 8-0 in a friendly match last year. For the Falcons to survive this group, they must get a point in their opening game against Norway, but it is not going to be an easy task,” Mabo stated.

The France 2019 World Cup presents another opportunity for the Super Falcons to move away from perennial underachievement, and all attention will be on coach Thomas Dennerby, his assistants, including Maureen Madu and the girls as they tackle the 2005 champions, Norway this evening.

Similarly, this year’s World Cup offers the Super Falcons the opportunity to break from round exits at the championship. Top striker, Asisat Oshoala is optimistic the task can be accomplished.

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