Seven times African champions, the Falcons of Nigeria yesterday sent a warning signal to teams campaigning in the ongoing African women championship that they were in South Africa for a mission – to reclaim the African women title they lost two years ago to Equatorial Guinea.
In their opening match against West African neighbours, Mali, the coach Eucharia Uche tutored team tore their Malian counterparts to pieces, handing them a 5-0 defeat.
From the onset, the Nigerian girls did not leave any one in doubt that they were in for business as they swoop on the hapless Malian defence line without giving them any breathing space as they attacked ceaselessly.
Nigeria’s blend of experienced and young players for the African women’s championship showed promise as the Falcons who have won a record seven times look good enough for a seventh title.
The Super Falcons have been the dominant force in the women’s game on the continent having won the bi-ennial competition since 1991 before they were upset by hosts Equatorial Guinea two years ago.
But the rich history of Nigeria winning the trophy in 1991, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 is something that cannot be easily taken lightly because the West Africans have been exposed, have matured and glee well as a team.
They are drawn in a relatively easier Group A along with South Africa, Tanzania and Mali.
They are therefore widely tipped to qualify, along with South Africa, the host team, for the semi-finals from where they will be up against the likes of defending champions Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana.
The finalists will fly Africa’s flag at the World Cup in Germany from June 2011.