Practically 14 months after they final kicked a soccer in anger as a crew, the Tremendous Falcons had been thrown straight into the thick of motion with a pleasant sport towards France, one of many world’s high groups on Friday
It didn’t finish effectively.
Africa’s 10-time ladies’s champions had been handed an Eight-Zero hiding by the Europeans in a sport that was a completely humiliating episode for the West Africans, particularly when the crew on the improper finish of that whitewash are the continental champions.
Regardless of the circumstances, such a foul loss saps confidence from the crew and inevitably results in fan and media hysteria concerning the state of the crew.
Not all of that hysteria is unjustified.
Barring a participant or two, the squad consisted of many of the nation’s first-team gamers.
To see them so simply taken aside in a mauling of that magnitude by the French was a transparent indication that the Tremendous Falcons have regressed.
It is not totally their fault.
Since successful the African Girls Nations Cup in 2016, the Nigerian ladies haven’t skilled in any respect collectively, not to mention play a single sport.
In that point, they had been additionally been with out a coach till Thomas Dennerby was appointed in late January.
This pleasant occurred to be his first main task with the primary crew, an task for which he had simply two coaching classes to organize his aspect to face a world-class aspect.
In that very same interval the place the Falcons had been hibernating, the French had performed a complete of 10 video games. Their opposition included Switzerland, Italy, Austria, England, Germany and the USA. The final three got here in March on the She Believes Cup.
France got here into the sport a well-oiled, finely tuned machine able to deal destruction and injury to the rickety, ill-prepared contraption that was the Tremendous Falcons.
They did simply that.
Missing coordination and barely capable of finding one another on the sphere, the African champions had been run ragged and picked aside nearly at will. There was even time for Religion Ikidi to poke residence a rare personal purpose in assist of the French.
Unhealthy because the outcome and the efficiency was, there have been nonetheless some positives to take from it.
First, with all of the deal with the Tremendous Eagles, the Falcons have been the uncared for ugly little duckling of the household.
No coach, no coaching camps, no fixtures.
This sport would have proven simply how unhealthy a mistake that’s. Permitting a nationwide crew to go for over a 12 months with out a coach or sport results in a scandalous outcome like this.
The plus aspect of that’s that Dennerby, if he didn’t know earlier than, can now perceive the size of the duty forward of him.
His wards needn’t simply video games upon video games forward of the looming qualifiers in entrance of them, however hours and hours of coaching time to imbibe no matter system he wants them to play.
Whether or not he can get his foreign-based gamers out to those video games is one other kettle of fish totally, however even his domestic-based gamers are additionally missing in match health.
The Nigerian ladies’s league has been on break for almost half a 12 months for the reason that final marketing campaign led to October 2017.
Fortunately, the brand new league season started once more this previous weekend, which ought to assist Dennerby’s costs rise up to hurry.
By now, each coach and federation have a good suggestion of what the Falcons have to do to. Begin instantly, and the crew can possibly creep their manner again to the highest of the continent.
In the event that they waste additional time, they face the actual risk of failing to qualify for even the African Girls Nations Cup, which might have been an unthinkable actuality final 12 months.
Imagine it or not, that could be a clear and current hazard