Super Falcons seek proper preparation ahead of Olympics

‘South Africa played their game in the media’

Super Falcons’ Head Coach, Randy Waldrum, has pleaded with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to support his team to prepare adequately for the 2024 Olympic Games, which will hold in Paris, France, from July 24 to August 11.

The Super Falcons beat South Africa 1-0 on aggregate to qualify for their first Olympic Games appearance in 16 years. Nigeria won the first leg in Abuja 1-0 and held the South Africans to a goalless draw in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Although the Super Falcons won the ticket to Paris, their preparation for the play-off was shoddy, with some of the players arriving in Abuja a day before the first leg. South Africa, on the other hand, started preparing for the two-legged two weeks before the first leg and even arrived in Abuja before some of the Nigerian players.

In Paris, Nigeria will face world champions, Spain, Brazil and Japan in Group C, which has been tagged ‘Group of death’ by football pundits. However, Waldrum is not fazed by the reputation of his team’s opponents, saying his team showed at the World Cup that they can challenge any team, no matter their pedigree, is given the required preparation.

At the World Cup, Nigeria came within minutes of eliminating eventual finalists, England, but succumbed to the Three Lionesses via the penalty lottery.

To repeat or even surpass their feat in Australia, Waldrum said: “My plea is to help us to prepare properly, we need to camp in Europe, we need proper training, proper transportation, we need to do things right.

“Every team at the Olympics is top, like the World Cup, we’re in the ‘Group of Death’.” He said the coaching crew would soon reassess their performance in the qualifying series with a view to correcting their lapses before the Olympics.

On his team’s defeat of the African champions, Waldrum said that the Super Falcons were more organized than the previous times both teams met, adding that the South Africans spent more time talking about the matches than they were able to play. He said: “South Africa talked a lot before these two matches, we just kept quiet.

“That’s why I felt confident. I believe in our team and I knew we would be hard team to break down even with their talent.
“The thing we would then hope is that you finish off one or two of your opportunities to advance and that was what we did.”

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